i Am Entertainment
SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2013 4 Year Anniversary Issue (#24)
DIRECTOR’S CUT 7 | SPIKE LEE CROWDFUNDS FANS HELP OSCAR NOMINEE. Get ready for another Spike Lee Joint, thanks to the director’s fans and their undying love and support for the 40 Acres & A Mule filmmaker.
8 | FOUR FILMMAKERS A look at four of the industry’s most influential filmmakers and how they impaacted society in America.
FILM & TV INDUSTRY 9 | TOP RATED TV SERIES This article explores 5 of the top television series since the 1980’s. These shows were monumental and grabbed the most viewers throughout their time on the tube.
10 | TV’s TOP COMEDIANS Here, we take a look at two of the top earning comedians to ever have their own television shows. We explore how much they’re worth and why they were so successful.
Jars of Clay www.iaemagazine.com
i Am Entertainment
SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2013 4 Year Anniversary Issue (#24)
World Renowned Stand-Up Comedian Michael Jr. has established himself as one of the funniest guys around. Having done shows with Jerry Seinfeld, George Wallace, and many more top comedians, this young comic shares why he’s funny without even trying.
FILM & TV
11 | JACLYN BETHAM
23 | JOSH BAILEY
The film and television actress talks about her role on the new hit Tyler Perry series on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN).
SVP A&R WORD RECORDS shares how he finds artists and a little bit about social media etiquette between artists and record execs.
12 | LOVE THYSELF
25 | YVONNE DRAZAN
Quotes about beauty, from some of the entertainment industry’s top female executives.
DIR. of LATIN at PEER MUSIC talks about the business of music publishing and finding new talent.
13 | FALL DVD RELEASES
23 | BRAD O’DONNELL
A look at what’s coming to Redbox, Hulu, and DVD this fall. From blockbuster hits, to indie flicks, you’ll get a good look at the lineup.
SVP A&R CAPITOL CHRISTIAN shares key career and music advice for unsigned faith-based artists.
PERFORMING ARTS 17 | RENEE SANTOS FEMALE COMIC talks about her journey from the bottom of comedy to her rising star in the game.
19 | MAX AMINI COMEDIAN shares his trials and triumphs as he works his way up the ranks in the the world of stand-up comedy and acting.
I Am Entertainment | SEP-OCT ‘13
39 KJ SAWKA
talks about his unique style of drumming and how he lights up stages at music festivals around the world with his bass heavy, hardcore, drumming skills!
30 | DONNA WALCHLE SVP A&R CAPITOL CHRISTIAN shares key career and
29 | Hip-Hop: The Good, The Bad, The Future An in-depth look at how HipHop culture has influenced America, and the world at-large. Featuring exclusive interviews of some of Hip-Hop’s elite, we find out what they feel the Good and Bad influences are, and where they see the genre headed in the future.
POS from DE LA SOUL DJ PRINCE PAUL SEVIN from HOG MOB KAMBINO WORDSMITH & newcomer - SAU
THE MUSICIAN’S CORNER Interviews with some of the industry’s hottest unsigned artists. Take a look at the lineup.
35 | DOUBLE 36 | ERICK MACEK 37 | RAGING FYAH 38 | CYNTHIA LEIGH-ANN 41 | ALBUM REVIEWS 43 | AUDIO TECH SECTION www.iaemagazine.com
i am Entertainent
The Entertainer’s Handbook
PUBLISHER: NFluential Holdings LLC
CEO & DIR. BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT Shaine Freeman - email@example.com
4 Year Anniversary
t’s I Am Entertainment’s 4th Anniversary and we’re thankful for your continued support. If you’ve been around since the beginning, you have witnessed our growth; from the content and design, to the tremendous number of folks who read this publication. Our mission is still to entertain, educate and inspire our readers to pursue their dreams with passion, that goal will never change. We have never been one to promote negativity and gossip and have instead opted to tell the truth about our Arts & Entertainment industry, which is a road that is not traveled by most entertainment publications these days.
I Am Entertainment recently won 2013 Best Magazine Publisher of Atlanta by the Atlanta Small Business Awards Program, which puts us in company with Inc. Magazine, Forbes, Men’s Health, and many other top publications. This award was something that we weren’t seeking out, but were chosen for. It is with a great deal of pleasure that we accepted this recognition from our peers in the world of business. We were told that this award is the result of our dedication and efforts, as well as the work of others in our organization that have helped build our business. We are honored by the recognition and we want to continue providing our readers with positive content that adds value to people’s lives. We have several big plans that will be unveiled in 2014 that you don’t want to miss out on so, I recommend that you connect with us on social media as well as subscribe to our email list. One of our first announcements is that we have recently decided to separate our Kids & Teens section into its own publication with the first issue scheduled to launch in October 2013.
In this new issue, you’ll see the diversity that exists in this melting pot we call entertainment. We have a variety of entertainers and executives from across the industry who represent a diverse mix of cultures and ethnicities. Our cover features uber successful rock band, Jars of Clay, who recently became independent of their major label supporters. Another highlight includes our expose on rap music titled, “Hip Hop: The Good, The Bad, The Future”. This article gives us a unique glimpse into the hearts and minds of such artists as Prince Paul, Pos (De La Soul), and Sevin (Hog Mob). You also don’t want to miss the “Label Talk” section that features executives from Capitol Records, Word Records, and Peer Music LA. Our film section kicks off posing the question of whether or not Spike Lee can prove us wrong. In addition, there are many fun articles sprinkled in throughout the film section this issue that might surprise you know. We are continuing the Woman Love Thyself campaign to promote a positive self-image in women and girls. Please use #WomanLoveThyself in your social media posts or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with subject line Woman Love Thyself. As always I love reading your feedback, so don’t hesitate to contact me. Use this issue as an educational tool to inspire yourself or a friend, and start mapping out your plan for success to round out 2013. Ready, set, go…
CANDY FREEMAN Editor-In-Chief
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: Candy Freeman - email@example.com RESEARCH & COPY EDITOR: KW Jackson - firstname.lastname@example.org REVIEWS EDITOR & ART DIRECTOR: Senseitional - email@example.com CONTRIBUTING WRITERS: Candy Freeman, Leslie White, Shaine Freeman, Senseitional, T-Rep CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS: Please see interviews/articles ADVERTISING: Northeast & Western U.S., International: Shaine Freeman - firstname.lastname@example.org Midwest Director of Sales: Claude Hawkins email@example.com Southeast Director of Sales: Dale Falk, Jr. firstname.lastname@example.org Print Subscriptions (US): $20 for 1 year, $30 for 2 years I Am Entertainment Magazine PO Box 263 Kennesaw, GA 30152 Tel: 818-813-9365 Article Submissions & General Info: www.iaemagazine.com/contact I Am Entertainment (IAE) Magazine is published bi-monthly in January, March, May, July, September, and November by NFluential Holdings, LLC (NFH). 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, NFH is not liable for any errors or omissions, typographical errors, or misprints. NFH 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 NFH 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 2013. All issues of I Am Entertainment Magazine are wholly the property of NFH and shall not be printed, copied, duplicated, or distributed without expressed written consent from the publisher. I Am Entertainment is a trademark of NFH. ISSN 2161-9093 (print) ISSN 2161-3109 (digital)
I Am Entertainment | SEP-OCT ‘13
NPPL ICE E P A EV
ON NDR A
i am Entertainent
Will He Prove I Am Entertainment Wrong?
“I was doing Kickstarter before there ever was a Kickstarter!” - Spike Lee via Kickstarter video that
helped him gain the support of 37 - $10,000 backers and nearly 6,500 total backers; raising over $1.4 Million
#1 - INSIDE MAN (Universal 2006) Starring: Denzel Washington Worldwide Gross: $184.4 Million #2 - MALCOLM X (Warner Bros 1992) Starring: Denzel Washington Domestic Gross: $48.2 Million #3 - JUNGLE FEVER (Universal 1991) Starring: Halle Berry, Samuel Jackson Worldwide Gross: $43.9 Million #4 - KINGS COMEDY (Paramount 2000) Starring: Steve Harvey, Bernie Mac, Cedric The Entertainer, and D.L. Hughley Domestic Gross: $38.1 Million #5 - DO THE RIGHT THING (Universal 1989) Starring: Too Many Legends To Name Worldwide Gross: $37.3 Million Source: BoxOfficeMojo.com Numbers not adjusted for inflation. Inflation Calculator: www.westegg.com/inflation
I Am Entertainment | SEP-OCT ‘13
By: Shaine Freeman The Oscar nominee who helped launch the acting careers ofInterview so many great thespians, and who brought us films like, She’s Gotta Have It, School Daze, Do The Right Thing, Malcolm X, The Original Kings of Comedy, Inside Man, and more is now set to bring us the “newest, hottest Spike Lee Joint” thanks to crowdfunding.
n our previous issue (#23), I wrote the article titled “Indie Filmmaking: Crowdfunding Your First Film” where I stated that I have not seen a successful box office feature film funded through crowdfunding sites. Although I’m still right...Director extraordinaire, Spike Lee, may prove me wrong. On August 21st, after receiving 30 days of overwhelming support from more than 6,400 “backers,” Mr. Lee successfully raised over $1.4 million through crowdfunding site, Kickstarter. The site, which has seen over 48,000 projects raise more than $777 million (at the time this article was written), is by far one of the top crowdfunding choices for creative independent artists. While Spike was only looking to raise $1.25 million, his fans and 37 obviously wealthy “backers” pledged $10,000 (yes, that’s $370,000)! So, what could make someone pledge that kind of money to a Kickstarter campaign? Try, dinner with Spike and COURTSIDE seats at Madison Square Garden for one of the New York Kicks’ games! Or, how about spending one full day with Spike on each phase of making his new movie (7 backers)?
In his video on the campaign, Spike talks candidly about why he used Kickstarter to fund the next ‘Spike Lee Joint’ (believed to be titled, “Da Blood of Jesus”), which will star the incredibly talented, Michael K. Williams from HBO hit series’ - The Wire and Boardwalk Empire. The film will also introduce rising young actors, Stephen Tyrone Williams and British actress, Zaraah Abrahams. If you’re curious to see what Mr. Lee’s explanation was, go on over to Kickstarter and type in the search box “Spike Lee”. I learned a great deal just watching Spike talk about his struggles with funding films over the years, how he had to call in one-time favors to actually get the Malcolm X film made. Also, Spike shared the fact that he has contributed over $300,000 to 44 NYU GRAD FILM students, debunking the tale that Mr. Lee has not helped young indie filmmakers. While I am a fan of some of Spike’s work and enjoy seeing his antics at Knicks games, for personal reasons I’m not too fond of the title of this upcoming film. But, I’m excited to see if Spike can make me eat my words on whether or not a successful box office release can happen via crowdfunding. iae www.iaemagazine.com
PHOTO COURTESY OF KICKSTARTER.COM, 40 ACRES & A MULE FILMWORKS
SPIKE’S TOP 5 BOX OFFICE HITS
FILM & TV
’m not fond of lists that try to name the top (__s) of all-time because it’s so subjective. Most of these lists are based purely on someone’s personal connection to the people who are being listed, and far too often influenced by cultural and socio-economic barriers. For instance: if you grew up in the suburbs of Chicago during the 1980’s, you were likely influenced by John Hughes or Robert Zemeckis films. But, if you grew up in a low-income inner city neighborhood of Chicago during that same time, you would have been probably more influenced by Spike Lee or Brian De Palma’s films. There are far too many variables to take into consideration, and you can’t put together an honest list based on box office numbers alone. So, in this piece we have focused on people who influenced everyone across the board, no matter where you’re from in the country.
Who Influenced American Culture & The Movies They Made
GEORGE LUCAS (STAR WARS & DROID) To sum up the impact George Lucas had on film, and society as a whole, is just too hard to do. We all know that Lucas created arguably the best film series ever made, Star Wars, which took filmmaking to a whole new level. But, for his work to have influenced an entire generation through Android (Droid) mobile devices is just plain amazing.
ALFRED HITCHCOCK (PSYCHO) Arguably the greatest director to ever make movies, Hitchcock’s work has influenced most of today’s top directors. Because of his creativity and amazing talent, Hitchcock was able to move seemlessly across genres, never getting stuck in one particular “lane” in filmmaking. We see his influences in almost every dramatic and suspense filled movie today.
STEVEN SPIELBERG (JAWS, E.T., etc.) Another filmmaker who used cinematic art to express his creative genius and influence the whole world. From films like Jaws, E.T., Indiana Jones film series, The Color Purple, Schindler’s List, Jurassic Park, and Saving Private Ryan...Mr. Spielberg influenced people of every age, race, nationality, and socio-economic background.
KATHERINE BIGELOW (HURT LOCKER) This Oscar winning filmmaker influenced the world, not just by her work, but by her accomplishments. By becoming the first female to win the Academy Award for Best Director (2009), Bigelow influenced an entire generation of women and girls in the male dominated film business. Not only did she influence women, she earned respect for them too.
FILM & TV
FACTS ABOUT TV RATINGS: Every August the Nielsen Company re-estimates the number of TV-equipped households there are in the United States. In August 2012, Nielsen determined that there were over 114 Million television households in the USA.
Highest Rated TV Series Since 1980
3 Game of Thrones (2011-?)
These are our favorite unscripted reality shows on REAL-ality networks like Discovery, DIY, Animal Planet, HGTV, Travel Channel, etc.
*Source: IMDb.com worldwide user rating.
Television’s Smash Hits
According to a study released on June 30, 2013 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American spends 2.8 hours per day watching television; accounting for half their daily leisure time. Here we wanted to share which shows TV viewers liked most.
1 PLANET EARTH (2006)
Network: HBO Genre: Fantasy Drama Seasons: 3 By far one of the most heralded shows on television today, Game of Thrones is a serious play on success for HBO. This show, which is an adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s series of fantasy novels titled, A Song of Ice and Fire, is about seven medieval families who battle for control of two fictional continents: Westeros and Essos. The show’s 3rd season had an average gross audience of 14.2 million. If you haven’t seen this show, now’s a good time to do so before the fourth season starts in 2014.
4 Breaking Bad (2008-?)
Network(s): BBC One (UK), Discovery Channel (USA) Genre: Documentary Episodes: 11 Costing £16 million ($25 million), Planet Earth is the most expensive documentary series the BBC has ever made; and is the highest rated TV series among viewers worldwide*. This Emmywinning series is an in-depth, scientific look at the natural history of the world’s oceans. The series was so successful BBC was able to raise $15 million (US) to produce the film version, Earth.
2 COSMOS (1980)
Airing on DIY Network, this show is a staff favorite because it actually shares tips on how to add value to your home.
If you haven’t seen this show, you don’t know what you’re missing. By far one of Discovery Channels most interesting shows, Shark Week takes up a nice bite our of our TV time.
Urban Amer. Outdoors
Urban American Outdoors is an Emmy nominated show that airs on America One via Time Warner Cable. This show puts a whole new image on what it means to be an “outdoorsman”.
Network: AMC (Sony Pictures Television) Genre: Drugs/Crime Drama/Thriller Seasons: 5 Created by Vince Gilligan, the series has won 7 Primetime Emmys, making it one of the most successful shows in TV history. It’s about a cancer stricken chemist, turned teacher, who teams up with a former student to cook and sell crystal meth.
Our fave place on TV to see things get blown up, Mythbusters is one of the few shows that puts us in touch with our inner nerd.
Call of the Wildman
5 The Wire (2002-08)
I Am Entertainment | SEP-OCT ‘13
Man v. Food
Network: HBO Genre: Crime Drama Seasons: 5 (60 episodes) If you have not seen this series, then you’re clearly out of the loop on good TV. Created by David Simon (a former police reporter), the show touches on a myriad of issues plaguing Baltimore, Maryland, including the city’s illegal drug trade. Fans are still baffled by the fact that this show never won an Emmy?
Yep, this show makes us both hungry and full just watching it. After watching Adam Richman suck down a 3 pound burger with all the trimmings, you almost feel sorry for the guy. But, we enjoy watching him eat himself into misery.
Clipart Source: freestockphotos.biz (Top 5 TV Series)
Network(s): first aired on PBS (Public Broadcasting Service) Genre: Documentary Episodes: 13 Hosted by Carl Sagan (1934-96) and written by Ann Druyan, Carl Sagan, and Steven Soter; Cosmos was the most watched television series in the history of public TV in the USA, until it was trumped a decade later by The Civil War in 1990. Cosmos was produced on a $6.3 million budget ($17.3 million in today’s economy) by Los Angeles based KCET (now KCETLink), and its first episode aired on September 28, 1980. In 1989, Turner Home Entertainment bought Cosmos from KCET, and the series is now available in both DVD format or on Hulu.
Want some “live action”? Wildman hunts with his bare hands to remove nuisance animals from peoples’ properties. This show is the perfect mix of comedy, action, and wildlife.
FAMOUS FILMMAKER QUOTES: ”Film is one of the three universal languages, the other two: mathematics and music.” - Frank Capra
FILM & TV
Words By: Shaine Freeman
of the Top-Earning
In U.S. Television History
JERRY SEINFELD For the past 3 years, including 2013, Jerry Seinfeld has been named Forbes’ #1 Top-Earning Comedian. When the “Seinfeld” finale aired in May 1998, over 76 million U.S. viewers tuned in to say their farewells to one of TV’s funniest casts. Since then, the show’s 180+ episodes have generated over $3billion in the US. Syndication deals throughout the U.S. have made the show’s co-creators, Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David, very wealthy men. Industry estimates put Seinfeld and David’s earnings somewhere around $400 million each.
Dr. BILL COSBY Dr. Bill Cosby has done far more in television than most comedians could ever imagine doing. He made us love Jell-O Pudding Pops, he made the world comfortable with seeing professional educated AfricanAmerican families on TV, he also had the #1 show on NBC, and eventually took ownership in the network. In addition to these accomplishments, Cosby is also one of the top-earning comedians in U.S. TV history., with an estimated networth of $350 million. According to Gary R. Edgerton’s book, The Columbia (Univ.) History of American Television, international markets who were not fond of U.S. programming but “The Cosby Show” earned more than $100 million in international syndication revenue. The show also earned over $1 billion in domestic syndication.
FILM & TV
FACTS ABOUT LUCILLE BALL: When she was 16 she dated Johnny DeVita, the son of a known gangster. Landed her first movie role came in the 1933 film, Roman Scandals. Lucy was dubbed the “Queen of the Bs” because of she did so many B movies. CBS didn’t think the viewing public would accept Lucy & Desi’s interracial marriage on TV.
Jaclyn Betham From Ballet To Starring In The Hit TV Series on OWN, The Haves & Have Nots...
So, what sparked your interest in entertainment? I grew up dancing and always loved becoming various characters in every ballet I was in. I also grew up watching I Love Lucy and was obsessed with Lucille Ball. I aspire to be like her some day. How did dance prepare you for a professional entertainment career? Dance gave me a thick skin and taught me to never give up! It also helped me overcome the fear of putting myself out there. I developed the discipline and drive to keep trying in this difficult industry. Was the transition into acting difficult for you? Very difficult. People think dancers can’t act. Sometimes it helped me and other times it didn’t. Tyler Perry didn’t even know about my background in dance. He didn’t find out until we were shooting one day and I kicked my leg behind my head! [laughs] If my character doesn’t dance then, I don’t really see the need to talk about it because I am an actress now. But I love dancing and acting equally, and I can’t wait to land a job that requires both. What was your first major acting gig, and how did that come about? I booked a guest star role on Americas Most Wanted. I auditioned for the role and booked it the next day. It was sad because I had to portray a girl who actually died and her killer was still out there.
Tell us a little bit about your character on the show? Amanda is an introvert who’s going through a lot of emotional issues but doesn’t know how to cope. She goes through a lot of dark circumstances and still tries to make her family happy. By the end of the first season, she starts to get some self-esteem, and begins to find her way as a stronger woman. What misconceptions do you think people have about the lifestyle of a working actor; do people think you have millions of dollars just because you’re on TV? OMG! There are so many crazy things I hear everyday. I drive a scion and live probably the most simple life you could live in Hollywood. I am most happy being with my family and friends but, people think that I’m “supposed” to be clothed in Chanel from head to toe and look like the cover of a magazine everyday. Which is fun to do and play in, but that’s not my reality yet. [laughs] What advice would you like to share with aspiring actors about being professional when pursuing an acting career? Just be yourself. In my career so far, people have always told me I needed to be skinner, press my hair, and pretty much not be me. Also, work hard! If you want to make it in this industry you cannot have a bad day and give up. Have the discipline to be ready and workable at all times. There’s a lot of competition, and there’s always someone else who’s willing to put in the extra mile. Make sure that “someone” is you! iae Entertainment Entertainment | SEP-OCT | SEP-OCT ‘13 ‘13 11 11I AmI Am
FACTS: - From Long Beach, California - Started out as a professional ballerina with Ballet San Jose, Houston Ballet, Anaheim Ballet, Luminario Ballet and the Legion of Extraordinary Dancers as their ballet soloist.
JACLYN BETHAM PHOTO COURTESY OF BRETT ERICKSON PHOTOGRAPHY
How did you land the role on “The Haves and the Have Nots”? I auditioned here in Los Angeles and two days later got a call that Tyler Perry was flying me out to Atlanta to test for Amanda. I had to wait two very long days to find out, and was so excited when I got the call!
SAY ? WHAT QUOTES FROM TOP WOMEN IN SHOWBIZ ™
woman love thyself
“Just take that first step! Take a job for whatever the pay in a field that you love and do that job well. Do it over and over again to the best of your ability; don’t skip steps. Enjoy the process of learning and growing, and be patient. This process will lead you to an accomplished skill, that will make you confident. Through this confidence you can gain an inner peace that is truly beautiful!” - Dee Haslem, CEO of Rivr MediaSalma Hayek “Regardless of what others may say about you or say to your face, it is not their place to determine your self-worth. So believe that whatever you need to make it on this journey is within you; do not get distracted along the way.” Exec. Producer of Emmy Nominated Urban American Outdoors s Presley “A negative self-image comes from looking outside in, rather than the other way around. The second we judge ourselves against others, we damage the positive aspects of our own lives and selfimage. Beauty is not just in the eye of the beholder, but also at the heart of the one beheld.” - Doreen Spicer-Dannelly, Screenwriter “I’ve become acutely aware of the extraordinary young women around me here at RIVR Media. (They) carry themselves with an air of confidence...Success breeds confidence, which in turn creates a positive self image.” - Lori Golden-Stryer, VP of Production at Rivr Media “True beauty – both internal and external – captures the distinct differences of every individual. As a sisterhood, we can overcome negative self-images by encouraging each other to embrace our one-of-a-kind exquisiteness” Brandii Toby-Leon, Entertainment Communications Consultant SEP-OCT ‘13 | I Am Entertainment
IRON MAN 3
IRON MAN 3 BOX OFFICE PERFORMANCE
Robert Downey, Jr. & Don Cheadle Take Down ‘The Mandarin’
Budget $200 Million Worldwide Gross $1.2 Billion Domestic Gross $409 Million
Iron Man 3 (Buena Vista/Marvel/Paramount)
Releasing Sept 10th
s I’ve said in previous action movie descriptions, you should not watch these kinds of films for the story; they’re strictly for entertainment purposes. Iron Man 3 is a guaranteed hit franchise for any and everybody involved in the film’s production and distribution. With a total box office gross of more than $2.4 billion worldwide, the Iron Man franchise is one of the most successful comic book to film series in the history of the movie business. I can’t help but credit the awesomeness of Robert Downey, Jr. and every director he works with on this franchise. Not to mention the amazing work the writers, editors, graphic artists, special and visual effects teams, cinematographer(s), and the composer are all doing with the series. Throw in stars like Don
13 I Am Entertainment | SEP-OCT ‘13
Cheadle, Gwenyth Paltrow, Guy Pearce, and Ben Kingsley, and you have a recipe for success. Iron Man 3 wasn’t the best of the three films in the franchise thus far, but it was still action packed and fun to watch. The movie had it’s fair share of outlandish scenarios and Tony’s over the top ego was on full display. While I’m not a big fan of Gwenyth Paltrow’s acting, I
could still appreciate her making Downey and Guy Pearce look as good as, if not better than, they really are. Sometimes I wonder how certain actors are cast because I can think of about 15 other women better suited to deliver the role of Pepper. But, I digress. If you’re looking for a great film to enjoy on your over priced surround sound system, and oversized TV...then make sure you go out and pick this DVD up. I’m sure the producers and actors, and everyone else who has a cut of the profits coming to them will appreciate your contribution to their already ginormous bank accounts.
Star Trek (Paramount)
Rated ‘PG-13’ Genre: Sci-Fi / Adventure Runtime: 2hrs 03min Gross: $462.8 Million World Cast: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Karl Urban, Simon Pegg, John Cho
Tyler Perry Presents: Peeples (Lionsgate)
Rated ‘PG-13’ Genre: Comdedy Runtime: 112 minutes Gross: $9.2 Million Domestic Cast: Craig Robinson, Kerry Washington, David Alan Grier, S. Epatha Merkerson, Diahann Carroll, Kali Hawk, Melvin Van Peebles, Tyler J. Williams www.iaemagazine.com
DVD Release Source: www.dvdreleases.org, Box Office Gross Numbers: www.boxofficemojo.com
Rated ‘PG-13’ Genre: Action Adventure Runtime: 2hrs 09 min Releasing: Sept 24th Cast: Robert Downey, Jr., Don Cheadle, Gwenyth Paltrow
FALL 2013 Internship (Fox)
Rated ‘PG-13’ Genre: Comedy Runtime: 1hr 59min Gross: $83 Million Worldwide Releasing: October 22nd Cast: Vince Vaughn, Owen Wilson, Rose Byrne, Josh Brener, Dylan O’Brien, Tiya Sircar, Tobit Raphael
The Way Way Back (Fox Searchlight)
Rated ‘PG-13’ Genre: Comedy Runtime: 1hr 43min Gross: $23 Million Worldwide Releasing: October 22nd Cast: Steve Carell, Toni Collette, Allison Janney, Liam James, AnnaSophia
After Earth (Sony/Columbia Pictures) Rated ‘PG-13’ | Genre: Sci-Fi Runtime: 1hr 40min Gross: $243.6 Million Worldwide Releasing: October 8th Cast: Will Smith and Jaden Smith
Revelation Road 2 (Pure Flix) Rated ‘NR’ Genre: Action Runtime: 1hr 30min Gross: N/A Releasing: Sept. 10th Cast: David A.R. White, Brian Bosworth, Eric Roberts, Logan White, Steve Borden
Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain (Lionsgate)
Rated ‘R’ Genre: Comedy Concert Runtime: 1hr 15min Gross: $22.5 Million Releasing: October 15th Cast: Kevin Hart
World War Z (Paramount)
Rated ‘PG-13’ Genre: Action Thriller Runtime: 98 minutes Gross: $536 Million Worldwide Releasing: Sept 17th Cast: Brad Pitt, Mireille Enos, Daniella Kertesz, James Badge Dale, Ludi Boeken, Matthew Fox
Pacific Rim (Warner Bros.) Rated ‘PG-13’ Genre: Sci-Fi Action Runtime: 2hrs 11min Gross: $405 Million Releasing: October 15th Cast: Charlie Hunnam, Idris Elba, Diego Klattenhoff, Rinko Kikuchi, Charlie Day
Monsters University (Buena Vista/Pixar/Disney)
Rated ‘G’ | Genre: Animation Runtime: 1hr 47min Gross: $724.4 Million Worldwide Releasing: October 29th Cast: Billy Crystal, John Goodman, Steve Buscemi, Helen Mirren, Peter Sohn, Joel Murray, Sean Hayes, Dave Foley SEP-OCT ‘13 | I Am Entertainment
PERFORMING ARTS: COMEDY
FUNNY FOR A REASON
Interview By: Shaine Freeman
Very few comedians today can hold the attention of an audience of more than 2,500 people for over an hour, without uttering one profane word or using crude humor to make them laugh hysterically. I witnessed Michael Jr. do it, and it was amazing! Afterward, I connected with Michael and learned what drives his passion to make people laugh, and why he chose to be family-friendly.
I can vouch for that gift you have because you had me really laughing hard. You remind me of a young Sinbad or Bill Cosby, because you’re both funny and you don’t use any profanity in your show. Why did you choose to be a clean comic? When I was 14 years old, a friend and me made a pact that we wouldn’t curse anymore. We didn’t really know anything about faith or God; we just didn’t want to keep cussing. So, I’ve always done “clean” comedy. In retrospect, I can clearly see that God was at work in my life early on. Because, had I started out cursing in my shows, after I became a Christian it would have been too much work to try and clean it up. So, it was great that God put it in me to stop using profanity long before I started doing comedy. Now, it’s a perfect fit for the lifestyle that I live.
Please tell us where you’re from and did you have a favorite comedian who inspired you to get into comedy? I’m originally from Grand Rapids, Michigan and I didn’t really watch comedy when I was growing up. I do remember my parents and family members playing Eddie Murphy’s albums and laughing, which kind of stuck out to me. But, I didn’t really have a favorite comedian growing up. I remember you saying at your show in Atlanta that you had a learning disability so, you looked at things differently. How did that help you develop as a comedian? It’s awesome that it became a tool that I was able to use to share various angles on life that most people may not be able to see. Although, today I have been blessed to think and understand the majority viewpoint; I still have this
I Am Entertainment | SEP-OCT ‘13
What was your first really big break as a comedian? Doing the Tonight Show was cool, and it was great as far as notoriety is concerned; but, the biggest break I had was more of a mental and spiritual one. God showed me that, instead of getting laughs from people, I should be looking to give them an opportunity to laugh. That changed everything for me! Now I didn’t have the pressure of trying to make people laugh at
my jokes. I think that’s why a lot of comedians use profanity in their shows, because it’s all about making people laugh. But, when you don’t feel like you have to make people laugh, it removes the pressure and you don’t have to take drastic measures to be funny. You actually go into prisons and do shows, and you even wrote a children’s book. What motivates you to do these kinds of things? I would always hear people say it, and I read it in the Bible a whole bunch of times that, “laughter is like a medicine.” So, one day God said to me, “If laughter is like a medicine, then why don’t you take it to the sick?” So, instead of selling laughter to the sick people who have no way to pay for it, why don’t I just give it to them? It’s that simple for me. I understand that some people have health insurance and can afford to pay for the medicine and so you charge them; but, am I only going to take it to those who can afford it? No. I’m also going to make it available to those who can’t afford it, but need it. So, one night while walking out of this show, I saw this homeless dude across the street. Here I am, signing autographs and taking pictures with people and all I could do was focus on this homeless guy. The whole time I was thinking, “How can I give him an opportunity to laugh?” That’s when I really got motivated to truly take it to people who can’t afford it, because they deserve to laugh too. I just want to be an example to other talented people and encourage them to use their gifts to help others and not just focus on how much you want to get paid. Don’t focus only on the invoice, but also consider what the inner voice is saying. Be others centered and not self-centered. www.iaemagazine.com
PHOTOS COURTESY OF LI LU
expanded perspective that most people don’t think about. So I’m able to use the majority perspective to help audiences relate to the main part of the joke, and then I make them laugh by tying that into this expanded viewpoint I have on that same subject. So, it’s just a phenomenal tool that I have that I use both on and off stage. God knew what He was doing when He gave me this gift. I’m just grateful to have it.
PHOTO COURTESY OF MICHAEL JR.
While attending a men’s event in Atlanta on Father’s Day weekend 2013, I encountered the funniest clean comedian I’ve seen since Sinbad first stepped on the scene. His name is Michael Jr.
PERFORMING ARTS: COMEDY
It goes back to what I was saying about pressure too. When you’re giving someone a gift, there’s no pressure. If they like it then great, but if they don’t, there’s still no pressure on. It’s just my job to present the joke and give them an opportunity to laugh at it. If people get it, then great; but if they don’t, that’s fine too. It’s that same mindset that I use when I go into a prison or homeless shelter. If I only get 10 people to laugh out of 100 people in attendance, at least those other 90 were in a room where laughter was shared. There’s no pressure for me or the audience. Talk about your new DVD that’s out? Yes, it’s called “Laughing On Purpose”. We filmed it in Dallas, Texas and shot it over two shows where 4,000 people came to each event. It’s just 70 minutes of family friendly comedy that the parents and kids can watch together. I’m really excited about it and it’s available right now on my website, along with my upcoming tour dates at www.michaeljr.com iae
“IF LAUGHTER IS LIKE A MEDICINE, THEN WHY DON’T YOU TAKE IT TO THE SICK?” “I JUST WANT TO BE AN EXAMPLE TO OTHER TALENTED PEOPLE AND ENCOURAGE THEM TO USE THEIR GIFTS TO HELP OTHERS...DON’T FOCUS ON THE INVOICE, BUT ALSO CONSIDER WHAT THE INNER VOICE IS SAYING.” www.iaemagazine.com
SEP-OCT ‘13 | I Am Entertainment
PERFORMING ARTS: COMEDY
PURE COMEDY 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 | SEP-OCT ‘13
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.
PERFORMING ARTS: COMEDY
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
SEP-OCT ‘13 | I Am Entertainment
PERFORMING ARTS: COMEDY
Pictured (t-b): David A.R. White on set filming ‘Revelation Road’
Interview By: Candy Freeman
Please share where you are from and what sparked your interest in comedy and acting? I’m from the East Coast (Washington DC) and ever since I was a kid I always loved to make people laugh and was the life of the party. After high school I moved to Los Angeles and attended UCLA theater program. We are well aware that most Iranian parents do not want their children to go into entertainment. Did you experience that with your parents? If yes, did that postpone your pursuit of it? My family, unlike many traditional Iranian families were very supportive of my acting and comedy career. They have always believed I could achieve any goal I set my mind to. I wouldn’t be where I am today without their love and encouragement. After graduating from the UCLA Acting Program, did you feel better prepared for entering the entertainment business? Did you also find that was
I Am Entertainment | SEP-OCT ‘13
a great place to network? UCLA has an amazing program. They teach you techniques to prepare you for the Industry. It’s your responsibility to take those techniques and apply it to a format that works for you. Anyplace where there are like-minded peers is a great place to network. While attending UCLA, you also began your stand-up comedy career at the LA Improv. What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while there? Allowing myself to crash, burn and to continuously push myself to improve. If everything came easy in your life you would never learn or grow as a person. You would be bored from the lack of challenges. Teachers told me that I was not funny or would never make it as a comedian. I knew deep within me I could be or do anything I put my mind to. I still to this day face those same challenges and I’m grateful of them. I refuse to wait for someone to nudge me forward when I know I’m the only person who can do that for myself. You entered the NBC Diversity Showcase as well as the CBS Diversity Comedy Showcase. How many applicants did you beat out to be one of the top finalists in each showcase and what was the whole process like leading up to the showcase? In every city hundreds of comedians audition and then from there 60 comics get a callback and from the callbacks 12 comics are chosen for the final showcase. But I don’t really look at it as how many people I beat out to be a finalist. You are your own biggest competition. I took each process step by step, stayed focused and always tried to stay true to who I am. I’m not sure of the ratio of successstories from the showcases but how www.iaemagazine.com
PHOTO COURTESY OF MAX AMINI
Diversity has been an area of ongoing progress in show business. The portrayal of stereotypes of various ethnic groups in movies and TV shows are fading and we couldn’t be happier. As more ethnic talent enter the landscape to show that they too can draw a loyal audience, the mentality of studio heads are changing. One such talent is comedian and actor, Max Amini. Here, we learn how he has been carving out his own space in the world of entertainment.
PERFORMING ARTS: COMEDY
of the Top Male Comics With Their Own Show There are a lot of funny guys who could’ve made this list, but here are some of our staff’s favorite funny men with their own TV shows; in no certain order. did you use the showcases to advance your career? The showcase was a great learning opportunity. There were a few good things that came from the showcase but everyone’s journey is deferent and for me there were other events that helped my career more.
EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND
At what point in your career did you seek out representation and was it difficult for you to gain? Finding representation is not easy. Every entertainer deals with this and they do their best to find the right fit. You just need to find someone that works well with you and that believes in you as much as you believe in yourself. Or else it won’t work. I believe I found that in my representation.
Jerry Lewis was by far one of the funniest guys ever to hit Hollywood. The recipient of the 2005 Primetime Emmy Governor’s Award, Lewis lit up the big and small screens with his slapstick comedy and paved the way for many of the others on this list.
Ray Romano is one of the funniest comedians on the planet, and his show, Everybody Loves Raymond, went for 9 seasons (210 episodes) and the show won 2 Emmy’s for Outstanding Comedy Series; while Ray won Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series.
THE MARTIN & LEWIS SHOW MARTIN
A personal favorite of our CEO and Editor (they own ever season of his show), Martin Lawrence gave us some of the most memorable characters and moments in TV sitcom history. His career as a stand-up comedian and film & TV star are to be respected.
Many Middle Easterners complain about the lack of opportunity to book roles that are outside of the stereotypical roles. Have you experienced that yourself and how have you dealt with it? Every ethnic actor deals with this and they would like to break into the mainstream. It comes with time and making the right choices.
When you say the name, Dave Chapelle, to a man between the ages of 25-49, laughter is the first response you’re likely to get. The man who is best known for breathing life into Comedy Central through his Chapelle Show, walked away from a $55Million offer and quit cold turkey. He’s still one of the funniest guys ever.
THE BOB NEWHART SHOW
Bob Newhart is an Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame inductee (1993), who won 3 Grammys and #14 on Comedy Central’s 100 Greatest Stand-ups of All Time. His show, The Bob Newhart Show, was nominated for two Emmy Awards.
Let’s talk about the business side of putting together a stand-up comedy show. What’s all involved? It’s a production. Just like filming a movie or starting any business. You find a location, hire a crew, find a marketing team, come up with a strategy and make sure you give your customer a product that will make them come back again.
GEORGE LOPEZ SHOW
George Lopez is one of a very small group of Latino comedians who has had extreme success in Hollywood. His self-titled show was actually initiated with the help of Oscar winning actress, Sandra Bullock, who felt TV needed to have more Latino influences. Lopez is a pioneer and a very funny stand-up comedian.
THE BURNS & ALLEN SHOW
George Burns lived 100 years and gave the world one heck of a rid. The Grammy and Academy Award winning comedian/actor was known for his signature cigar and glasses, and no matter what anybody says, you can’t deny his influence on entertainment.
What advice would you like to share with aspiring comedians that live outside of the LA market about the business side of comedy? Take control of your business and build a strong team that believes in you. If you really want to make it, you need to live it. Work on your business like the involuntary breaths you take every day. Much blessings to you all out there. iae
“If everything came easy in your life you would never learn or grow as a person.” www.iaemagazine.com
DREW CAREY SHOW
Drew’s show went for 9 seasons (233 episodes), making it a longer running show than Ray Romano’s show by just 23 episodes. Carey go this start in stand-up and carried that into television. Today he’s the host of The Price Is Right.
THE BERNIE MAC SHOW
Bernie Mac was an Emmy nominated comedian whose life was cut short by a rare lung disease. One of the Original Kings of Comedy, Mac was undoubtedly one of the funniest stand-up comedians to ever have his own TV show. The Bernie Mac Show aired for 5 seasons (104 episodes).
JAMIE FOXX SHOW
Jamie is an Oscar and Grammy winning comedian, actor, singer, radio personality and owner of Sirius Satellite Radio station, The Foxxhole. Jamie’s wide range as an entertainer puts him in the same class of comedians like Eddie Murphy and Sammie Davis, Jr. Foxx is still one of the great stand-up comics of our day. Source: Wikipedia.org
SEP-OCT ‘13 | I Am Entertainment
JARS OF CLAY 3x GRAMMY & AMERICAN MUSIC AWARD WINNING ROCK BAND GOES ‘INLAND’ ON THEIR 11th STUDIO ALBUM TO SEE WHAT THE WORLD IS LIKE INDEPENDENT INTERVIEW BY Candy Freeman PHOTOS COURTESY Jars of Clay
I Am Entertainment | SEP-OCT ‘13
COVER STORY Most new bands want a record deal; for you guys, what was the first thing you learned about the business side of music when you signed your first record deal? I learned that I don’t know much. The music industry has always been, and was, especially complex back then. With all the nuaunces of how money is paid, collected and leveraged, it really seemed like it was intentionally opaque. It has taken me decades to begin to even get a rudimentary sense for what moves the needle forward for an artist and what is just smoke and mirrors. Congratulations are in order, because you guys have been able to keep the band going for over 20 years. What would you say has been the “secret” to your tenure in the music business? Our fans. We are grateful to have the most incredible group of supporters, people that acknolege and are passionate for a wider more generous conversation about faith and life. They acknowlege the gray middle space where we all live our lives. We have been given a great gift to be able spend the last 20 years chasing the things that move and inspire us and to have what were once fans and who are now what I would call patrons of what we do. Your new project, “Inland”, marks the first release on your own label. From a business perspective, what did you have to think about when creating this album, that you didn’t have to think about when you were signed to another label? There was not a lot of thought about being “Independent” or “owning our own label” that went into this process for us. We just spent about 2 years digging deep and making the best collection of songs that we could. Once we had finished that process it was just a process of building a team of people that could help us bring this record to our patrons and the whole world in the most rigorous and creative way. That process used to mean you had to have a label to even be remotely competative… but in the past few years that has changed, and if you are serious about having a life in music you have to be willing to look more broadly and creatively at the part of the work that is bringing your art to market. Did relocating to Portland help you creatively on this project? I’ve heard other artists say that a change of scenery sometimes helps their creative focus. Portland was an immersive experience for us. Her wine stirred our souls while her coffee sobered our minds. We swam in her cold clear water. She filled us with music. And once again we submitted our songs to the discipline and rigor of the recording process. We played, listened, rehearsed, listened, felt, listened and
listened again. Slowly what began to emerge was something that sounded like it had been inside of us all along. It was both startling and familiar. As label owners, how important is touring and radio to your label’s success? Every part of the market is crucial. As artists, it is important both economically, but also relationally, that we have as dynamic a relationship as possible with anyone that might be impacted by what we are doing. There is no part of the work that we can afford to leave “on the table” - that said, decisions have to be made. A lot of it for artists these days comes down to these decisions. Fewer and fewer are offered, to steal a line from the Muppet Movie, the standard “Rich and Famous Contract,” so for the rest of us, it becomes tantamount to define, as specifically as we can, what does success mean to us? What are the pieces that really matter to me? What pushes forward the conversation that I am trying to have; keeps me in the space where I am stimulated and inspired to keep creating? Those then become the definers for where to pour your effort. For jars, touring is something we love. We have a long history of support and great relationships at radio that we are grateful for. But I also believe that there are a LOT of Jars patrons out there that the traditional mechanisms for music marketing are not reaching. And we see that as an opportunity for creativity and innovation, and have surrounded ourselves with people that have a similar sense for things. Often times, indie artists ask us how a free song download will help their release. As a band that has done free downloads, can you share with them the benefits of giving away music? The economy of recorded music has changed rapidly from a very static thing to become VERY dynamic. This is most challenging to those of us that existed in the old paradigm because we are constantly having to kill the spectre of how things used to be or how we used to benefit under the old system. Since the value of a recorded piece of product is not a static thing anymore, the challenge for us is offer works that are valuable - first to us and then to engender and pass that sense of value along to fans. For those artists who are being approached by labels, what should they be looking and asking for in their contracts? I am not sure how to answer this. Our experience is very limited to our particular story and people we have met along the way and may not be helpful or applicable at all to someone else. If I have only hinted at it before, I should say it more directly that the new reality of this business is that there is less prevailing wisdom than there used to be. iae SEP-OCT ‘13 | I Am Entertainment
LK TA L E B LA
SVP of A&R at Word Entertainment Gives A Lesson On Artist Social Media Etiquette
Many artists are trying to use social media to contact A&R reps at labels about their music. Do artists hit you up on social media; and is that the right thing to do? I get hit up all of the time. Every A&R is different, but I don’t have a ton of time to spend on Facebook or Twitter responding to artist inquiries. Occasionally, someone will reach out to me on Facebook and if I have some sort of connection through mutual friends then I’ll take a look. But, for the most part, I don’t use social media to interact with people I don’t already know. My recommendation is to only reach out to an A&R via social media if you have a mutual or personal connection. Random posts or tweets are not very professional and you’ll likely not get a response because of the time constraints on the A&R. We (A&R) typically look for new artists through reliable sources we’re familiar with. Also, never send me a blind-copied message via a mass email blast to tons of people because, as soon as I see that, I will hit delete.
There are a lot of A&R consultants out there pushing their services. Is that a good way for artists to reach you? Actually, there are probably a few ways to go about reaching me. If a real manager, who’s not your cousin (laughs), writes me a personal email I will likely check it out. Whether I respond or not depends on what pressing matters are happening within the label when I get your message. Plus, my account gets flooded with emails so, sometimes I just look at emails from people I know. But recently, I signed an artist from Canada as a result of an A&R consultant I know. The artist hired this Nashville consultant who has a great track record and has been in the business for years. They basically went to the consultant and said, “If you think this has potential, help us make connections and get in front of the right people.” Yes, it cost them money to do it, but
CLASSIC SONG LYRICS
DUST IN THE WIND (1977) Artist: Kansas Writers: Kerry Livgren
AGAINST ALL ODDS (1984) Artist: Phil Collins Writer: Phil Collins
Lyric: Don’t hang on, nothing lasts forever but the earth and sky It slips away, and all your money won’t another minute buy Dust in the wind, All we are is dust in the wind Dust in the wind, Everything is dust in the wind
Lyric: So take a look at me now, there’s just an empty space And there’s nothing left here to remind me Just the memory of your face Ooh take a look at me now Well there’s just an empty space And you coming back to me is against the odds And that’s what I’ve got to face
Those kinds of emails don’t feel legitimate or authentic.
I Am Entertainment | SEP-OCT ‘13
DAUGHTERS (2003) Artist: John Mayer Writers/Producers: John Mayer (W), Jack Joseph Puig (P) Lyric: Fathers, be good to your daughters Daughters will love like you do Girls become lovers who turn into mothers So mothers, be good to your daughters too
PHOTO COURTESY OF JOSH BAILEY
Do you use YouTube and other social media sites like Facebook & Twitter to find new artists? Social media is definitely used as a research tool, but I think it’s a black hole of sorts when it comes to finding artists. I do believe that artists should use social media as an outlet to interact and build up their fan base, as opposed to trying to get the attention of a label or booking agent. What gets someone’s attention is when the artists themselves have this ability to interact with fans on a big level through social media. For example, there’s a young artist that we’re talking to in (Nashville) who has really used YouTube as a tool to build his whole career. He has over 100,000 subscribers who are always going to his channel, and he uses his online fan base as a foundation to support his touring. While he’s not the first one to do this, he has done a very good job at building his fan base. He uses the analytics from his channel to find where most of his fans are, and then he does a concert in their market; which is very smart.
Selling Singles Ever the end result is the artist was signed. But artists have to be able to differentiate between someone who has a credible track record, and someone who’s not really that connected. There are a lot of people out there who pass themselves off as A&R consultants, but they may not really have legitimate connections; so I’d advise artists to be careful. What should artists think about when they approach creating music to even consider pitching to you? Is the 4 song demo still relevant? I think the artist needs to ask his/her self, “Why am I making music?” If you’re just making music to get a deal, then it’s likely not going to make sense unless you are undeniably super talented. To me, if you’re making music then you should want to make music that will somehow impact people. Obviously, in Christian music, artists hopefully are creating music because they are called to it and have some ministry
purpose that is greater then themselves. Also, you need to create music for people to consume, and then make it available for them to access. It doesn’t have to be in some kind of product piece, but if you’re touring you want some kind of product to sell. Fans also want to walk away with something in their hands that once they get in the car they can listen to it. As time goes on and things continue to change, we will see what that looks like. But, presently it’s downloading or streaming from their phones, or buying a CD from your merch table. As far as demos are concerned, I want to hear two or three songs, and if I’m interested beyond that I may want to hear more. If you have a full project I may want to hear it, see it, and understand the brand you’ve built as an artist. Ultimately, if you’re just starting out I think you should make music that you want to use in some way to impact people or gain some influence. iae
White Christmas (1942) 50 Million Sold Artist: Bing Crosby
Candle In The Wind (1997) 33 Million Sold Artist: Elton John
Silent Night (1935) 30 Million Sold Artist: Bing Crosby
Rock Around The Clock (1954) 25 Million Sold Artist: Bill Haley & His Comets
We Are The World (1985) 20 Million Sold USA for Africa Source: Wikipedia.org
LK TA L E B LA
Director of Latin at Peer Music in LA
Shares the Pros & Cons of a Co-Publishing Deal vs. an Admin Deal
How did you get into the music business? I didn’t go to college after graduating high school (1988). Back then, there were no degrees available for Music Business that I knew of, and I didn’t want to just go to college to be going. My dad was always supportive of my decision, but he told me that if I didn’t want to go to college then needed to get a job. I’ve always been really creative and my dad instilled in me a very strong work ethic so, the day that I became eligible to receive my worker’s permit, I went to work. I ended up going to makeup school because I needed to be in a creative field. While I was in school, my best friend and I began promoting Latin rock bands. We didn’t have a name for what we were doing but, in retrospect, we were doing marketing, promoting and booking. While doing that, I met a girl who was attending UCLA and she wanted to book one of our bands to perform there. She was also working part-
I Am Entertainment | SEP-OCT ‘13
time in the Latin division at Capitol Records, and she told me about a part time position that had opened up at Capitol. Of course, I jumped at the opportunity to apply, and the timing couldn’t have been more perfect because, I was in my last course at makeup school. I got the job, graduated from makeup school and wound up never working as a makeup artist. [laughs] What do you do at Peer Music? I’ve been at Peer Music for a little over 10 years. I’m currently the Director of A&R in the Latin division. While I do have a couple of songwriters in the urban genre, my primary focus is Latin music. Both myself, and my partner in Peer’s Miami office run US Latin for Peer Music. My partner oversees the Puerto Rico office, and I oversee the Mexico City office. I work directly with songwriters at every level, and I am very hands on with my clients. I have a couple of songwriter-producers, a few writer-artists, and a couple of bands that double as composers. When signing a new writer, what do you find to be the most common thing you have to educate them on? Music publishing and what it is. Even when I first got to Peer, I only had a basic knowledge of it. I think music publishing is the single most important aspect of a music artist’s professional life so, I take educating my writers very seriously. I really want them to understand that music publishing can bring them income for life, and will carry on to their children and grandchildren. Many artists and writers think they’re ready for a publishing deal, just because they have something going on with their careers at the moment. I like to show my writers every opportunity that is available to them in music publishing. So, I bust out my pie chart and explain to them the difference between a publishing deal,
co-publishing deal, and publishing admin deal. I like to show them how each of these deals affects the money that comes in, and I explain what the role of a music publisher should be. I also tell them what I will, and won’t, be able to do for them. Pie charts are important in the world of publishing because you see them all the time. Most of my writers laugh at my pie chart, but it works. [laughs] Which publishing deals do you discuss with your writers the most? The most common conversation that I have is going over the differences between a publishing administration (admin) deal and a co-publishing deal. In regards to a co-publishing deal, there is a section in their agreement or proposal that will talk about the royalty splits and how the money gets allocated. There is a piece of that “pie” that is called the ‘Publisher’s Share’ of income, and another piece of the pie representing the ‘Writer’s Share’ of income. When you do a copublishing deal, the Publishers Share gets split between the writer’s publishing entity that they created, and Peer Music. That piece of the pie that Peer Music owns is something that we will retain for the duration of what has been agreed to. The writer’s piece of the Publisher’s Share is something that they will always have, and they also retain their Writer’s Share. Industry standard is a 75/25 split on a 100% pie. Within that 75% is the Publisher’s Share of the income generated from the songs the writer or artist creates that have actually been released to the public. Technically, the 100% breaks down to be: 50% Writer’s Share and 50% Publisher’s Share. 25% of the Publisher’s Share goes to the writer’s entity, and the other 25% is Peer’s share. That’s the basic breakdown of a co-publishing deal. On an admin deal, it’s completely different. www.iaemagazine.com
PHOTO COURTESY OF Yvonne Drazan
Please tell us where are you from and what inspired you to pursue a career in music? I was born and raised in Los Angeles. My father was from Mexico City, and when he was a teenager he moved to Chicago where he met my mother. My mother is also of Mexican descent but, she was 1st generation Mexican-American. Before I was born, they moved out to LA. I’ve always been really passionate about music. When most of my friends were playing with Barbie’s, I would have a record player and headphones on, and writing out the lyrics to the Beatles songs. [laughs] My parents listened to a wide variety of music so, I was always in their vinyl records. My sister, who is 7 years older than me, had a lot more mature taste in music compared to mine. But through her, I got to hear a lot of punk and ska music, as well as early Hip Hop. So, my family really inspired me to get involved with music.
The entire pie stays with the artist/writer; both the Publisher’s and Writer’s shares. In an admin deal, the only thing that Peer does for them is collect their money, out of which we retain a fee off of the top. This fee pays for the work that we’re doing to collect their money for them. They don’t give up any of the copyrights interests. The general split on an admin deal is either 90/10, or 85/15; it all depends on how clean their catalog is. What are the pros and cons of each deal? While there are pros and cons to both scenarios, it’s really about what’s most important to the writer/artist. When a writer/ artist does a co-publishing deal with Peer Music, we actually have more of a vested interest in seeing them succeed, since we own a piece of the pie. The more successful they are, the more income both we’re able to generate together. With a copublishing deal, you also get the benefit of our A&R staff and the Film & TV department working on your behalf. But, if we’re just administering the writer’s publishing then, we’re just collecting money for them. They forfeit the benefits that are in a co-publishing deal. They will have to do all of the work to find placements for their songs. We just go out and collect their money for them. For some writers; they are at a stage in their career where they don’t need a co-publishing deal. All they need us to do is collect their money for them. But, for most up-and-coming writers, a co-publishing deal is a big help because you get the entire building at Peer behind you. So, in the end, it really comes down to what the writer’s needs are. iae Visit Peer Music at www.peermusic.com
LK TA L E B LA
SVP of A&R Capitol Christian Music Group
Many artists say they don’t believe A&R reps are interested in anything but cliché radio bands. From an A&R’s perspective, what do you want them to understand? I understand their frustration but I don’t think it’s accurate. From my perspective, I think artists that get signed are a blend of both the different and familiar. It is true that if something’s too familiar it seems generic and doesn’t stand out; but on the flip side, if something is too different and only appeals to a small group of music fans, it may take a long time to find a broad enough audience to be very successful. What I’ve seen with music over the years is that the artists/bands that experience long term success possess that unique blend. On one hand, they have something that stands out about them; maybe it’s their voice or how their band sounds? But on the other hand, they can remind us of our favorite artists (familiarity), so that means it intersects with the market and has a chance to sell. This is all subjective of course, because who’s to say that this artist is just the right mix? One person might listen to an artist
I’m glad you said that, because it is called the music…business. Can you give some insight on how the corporate aspect of music affects your decision to sign an artist? As with anything, there are pros and cons. On the business side, measurable statistics have to be taken into account with an A&R person’s opinion of a band. If you’re selling a lot of music, getting a lot of YouTube views, and you have a lot of Twitter and Facebook followers then those measurable stats could influence an A&R person’s response to your music. They might recognize there’s an audience for it even if it’s not their personal taste. Also, artists can
use these statistics as motivation to keep going because they know that they are reaching people. But the down side of measurable statistics is that people sometimes are only looking at the numbers now, and I don’t think you can do that with music. You have to use your imagination because it’s not always static. Just because an artist doesn’t have a massive following today, that doesn’t mean the music isn’t good and can’t be successful with the right help. Also, just because something’s got a big following today, it doesn’t mean it will last. For instance, the Harlem Shake craze was huge 2 months ago and now it’s pretty much gone. That’s proof that numbers don’t last. I look at statistics as information to help me make well rounded decisions, but you can’t let them be the final word. Most artists take it personal when an A&R doesn’t like their music. Can you help them better understand, from an A&R’s perspective, what “no” means?
CLASSIC SONG LYRICS
ALL I WANNA DO (1994) Artist: Sheryl Crow Writers: Wyn Cooper, Cheryl Crow, David Baerwald, Bill Bottrell (producer), Kevin Gilbert Lyric: All I wanna do is have some fun I got a feeling I’m not the only one All I wanna do is have some fun I got a feeling I’m not the only one All I wanna do is have some fun Until the sun comes up over Santa Monica Boulevard
and say they sound a little generic, but I might hear something special in them. So, from that end, I can understand their frustration. I think another reason a lot of artists get frustrated is because they don’t often times view record labels as businesses. We have measurable factors that we are looking at, so it can’t only be about the creative side of music for us (label execs).
I Am Entertainment | SEP-OCT ‘13
RESPECT (1983) Artist: Police Writer: Sting
REVELATION SONG (2009) Artist: Kari Jobe and Phillips, Craig, & Dean Writer: Jennie Lee Riddle
Lyric: Oh, can’t you see You belong to me? How my poor heart aches With every step you take Every move you make Every vow you break Every smile you fake, every claim you stake I’ll be watching you
Lyric: Holy, Holy, Holy Is the Lord God Almighty Who was, and is, and is to come With all creation I sing: Praise to the King of Kings! You are my everything, And I will adore You…! Yeah!
PHOTO COURTESY OF BRAD O’DONNELL
Shares What Artists Must Understand About Labels Today
Absolutely! With music, everything feels more personal. So, when an A&R person says s/he is not going to invest in that artist’s music, it can be tough for the artist. It’s hard to walk away feeling like someone doesn’t believe in your dream, vision and gifts. That applies to all artists, secular and Christian. But, for Christian artists specifically, they have to start from a place of biblical certainty. It’s important to know who you are and believe in the gifts God has given you. Once you have that foundation, it’s not so much about whether or not you’re valid, it’s really about what God wants you to do with it. If He wants you to do this as a career on a national or international level, then there is going to be some momentum. Again, the great thing about social networks is that it offers measurable stats so that the artist can see what fans are and are not responding to. When it comes to the radio, many artists feel like they are being shut out because they are not signed to a major label. It is a nightmare! [laughs] It can be. The label says, “As soon as you get a great booking agent and a hit song on the radio, then we’ll be interested.” While the radio programmers say, “As soon as you have a record deal, then we’ll play your music.” That’s the catch 22 of being an artist, because you’ve got to get a “yes” somewhere in order to get a foot in the door. It’s the nature of the business these days. Everyone wants to reduce their own risks; they’d rather somebody else go first. But artists can’t give up because if you’re meant to do this then you will find your way in. I always tell artists that it’s like shaking a fruit tree. You might have your eye on one particular piece of fruit, and oftentimes when you shake the tree, the one you wanted isn’t the one that falls off. But, if you don’t shake the tree then nothing ever falls. You have to shake it first; you have to knock on those doors and be persistent and tenacious. Almost always, it doesn’t go the way you thought it would. You may have your mind set on working with one person, but as you’re shaking the tree, you wind up working with someone else who helps you get where you’re trying to go. When it comes to marketing an album, should unsigned artists have a budget? Absolutely! The second you say you’d like to get compensated for your music, it changes everything. You now have to do all of the stuff it takes to get people interested enough in your music to
get paid for it. That’s true with any business. I personally feel that, even though you may not have the same size budget as a major label, the marketing strategy should still work in a similar way. Sure, with a label you have a lot more people and influence involved so, these people can leverage their relationships to access higher places. But, if you don’t have a label backing you, all this means is that you’ll need to be more active on all your social media networks, doing interviews and getting reviews from as many credible sources as you can, and playing as many shows as possible. It’s a very guerilla approach. I think when you sign with a label, they can help you be more strategic and leverage the relationships they have to get you in the places you probably couldn’t get in as an independent artist. But really, it still comes down to the artist. I personally feel that when we have an artist who isn’t very active, we (labels) can’t make a big difference in the success of their project. When I see us making a difference, it’s usually because the artist understands these principals and they are really active in being out there and talking about their music. We just come in and make a big thing even bigger. That also applies with publications like this one. When we’re on the fence about whether we should feature someone, their social media activity almost always plays a part in our final decision. That’s exactly it. It’s a new era and social media is a real factor. If you look at the music business, or any business for that matter, things change every 10 to 15 years and a new skills set is required. I was the guy 10 years ago saying, “Great music sells on its own and speaks for itself!” I still believe great music is the most important ingredient in order to have longevity in this business but, I don’t know if longevity happens when an artist has great music and is completely inactive in today’s crowded music space. They’ve got to be out there where people can find out about this great music they have. Otherwise, how will people know you exist? People are so busy with their lives, and then when you add social media to it their lives become insane. So, as an artist, you have to make sure your music is where people have the chance to bump into it. If you’re not providing a chance for that, no matter how good your music is, you’re putting a lid on how big your reach is. iae
MULTIPLATINUM SONGWRITER & PRODUCER
DONNA DOUGLAS WALCHLE
ON PUBLISHING & AUTHORING BOOKS www.DonnaDHere.com
“When you write a song you have to make sure you have filed all the proper paperwork because, they can’t pay you for something they don’t know exists.”
PHOTOS COURTESY OF DONNA I DOUGLAS WALCHLE
Tell us where you’re from and what influenced you to pursue a career in entertainment? I was born in Miami and raised in Ft. Lauderdale (FL). When I was around 4 years old I had an easel in my room, because I loved to play records on my phonograph while I was painting pictures. I was always singing and making up songs so, when I got a little older I took piano lessons. Around the age of 8, I took voice lessons and once I got in high school I was part of a very elite choral group of 40 people who competed on the college level. My choral instructor, Peggy Barber, was extraordinary and she taught us to listen and blend. She also taught us to properly hum “A” without hearing it on the piano. Many of those great techniques, I actually wound up using as a record producer. My love for music continued to grow and that evolved into storytelling, which included my love for songwriting and producing music videos. It was a step-by-step process through the years, for me. What should every songwriter know about publishing? Since I’m not an entertainment attorney, I have a very limited knowledge about the legal side of it. I do, however, have a publishing administrator who handles those things for me. I pretty much write the songs and then hand those over to the experts, and they make sure all the forms are filled out correctly and submitted to the right P.R.O’s. I have licensing entities that make sure that when my song gets played on the radio, TV, or film I get paid for that airplay. When you write a song you have to make sure you have filed all the proper paperwork because, they can’t pay you for something they don’t know exists. There are various licenses involved in music publishing that depend heavily on the paperwork that has been filed on your songs. Every song you write should be registered with the U.S. Copyright Office, and a mechanical license should be filled out for those songs. This tells the people who are recording your songs that they have to account to you for how many (physical) copies are pressed up, that way you get paid your share of the sales royalties. There are many ways for you to get paid when your songs are licensed; whether it’s radio, television, downloads, music videos, when someone re-
makes your record, and even sheet music. There are many revenue streams connected to each song, depending on how much it’s exploited. You’ve authored several great books, taking that writing skill you have into other mediums. Talk about some of your books and where you are on those? My first book is titled, “God Stories: They’re So Amazing, Only God Can Make Them Happen”. It was in hardback format and published by Starburst Publishing. It was available in Barnes & Noble and some other bookstore chains, as well as Christian bookstores in the U.S. The idea for that came up while I was traveling between LA and New York to pitch television shows. I would usually send my bio out ahead of time, without an agent. By the favor of the Lord, I was able to meet with the check signers at top companies like ABC, NBC, CBS, Warner Bros., and even Steven Spielberg’s company. When I would go in to meet with most of these executives, they would read my bio and see my success in music, particularly in Gospel music, and they would almost be mad that I wanted to do TV. [laughs] They would say, “I see you’re really successful in Gospel music. I don’t know why you want to get into TV; but, how did you get into Gospel music?” I would say, “I found out that Jesus concurred death forever and I was really excited about that so I decided to write Gospel music so other people can know that, too. God’s really made a huge difference in my life.” They would ask, “In what way?” So I started telling them God stories and testimonial stories that God did every day. These same people who initially said that I only had 5-10 minutes of their time would be, literally, still sitting in front of me 3 hours later asking me to tell them another God story. When I was on my way home from LA, I felt the Lord say that He was giving me a book. I could’ve written the whole book just based on my own testimonial stories, but my publisher very gently reminded me that nobody knows who I am. He suggested that I interview celebrities, and so I did. After I had cancer the publisher let me redo the book in paperback and we retitled it, “Wings From God.” Recently, I completed a paperback book titled, “Make Lemonade: When Life Gives You Lemons Making Lemonade Is The Best Thing To Do.” It’s a fiction novel based on a screenplay that I wrote. The story is about Casey Alliston, a very successful record company owner. One night while in route to a gala in her honor, she gets stopped by the police and arrested for several traffic violations. Several weeks later she’s in court and the judge sentences her to 200 hours of community service at a home for foster children and senior citizens. She doesn’t like children or the elderly; she’d rather be put in an orange suit and have to pick up trash
on the side of the road. Nevertheless, she’s forced by the court order to spend time there. During that time the walls begin to come down and we see her transition of heart. It’s a really sweet story and I’m hoping a lot of people will like. There’s a scene in “Make Lemonade” when Casey is reading a children’s book at Barnes and Noble to a group of the kids from the children’s home and the book is called, “There’s An Owl In the Closet.” That’s also a new children’s book I’ve written, which comes with some sing-along songs. It’s a children’s book that will cause a lot of laughter and unbridled imaginations in the hearts of the kids. It’s a true story based on my little brother. He would bring in every animal in the neighborhood that was lost, hurt or homeless. He’d take care of them and once they were well he’d send them on their way. We were glad that he never brought home any buffalo or elephants. [laughs] His older sister in the book, whose name is Lily, started imagining what it would be like if he brought home larger, wilder animals. It’s a cute story for kids that, as I mentioned, comes with a CD of sing-along songs. Both, “Make Lemonade” and “There’s An Owl In the Closet” are available to order from my website. “Make Lemonade” is also available on Amazon Kindle. SEP-OCT ‘13 | I Am Entertainment
The MUSICIAN’S Corner
HIP HOP: THE GOOD, THE BAD, & THE FUTURE WHAT THE ARTISTS THEMSELVES THINK OF THE MUSIC THEY CREATE & THE CULTURE THEY’VE HELPED SHAPE Words & Interviews By: Shaine Freeman
POS of De La Soul LEGEND
PRINCE PAUL LEGEND
SEVIN of Hog Mob VETERAN
SAU THE FUTURE
It started with Muhammad Ali and James Brown. Muhammad Ali was the first commercial rapper (although there was no name for it yet), while King James (Brown) 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 thinks he will, but I know he won’t.” This would be the foundation for the essence of hip-hop, both past and present. As Ali was spitting rhymes, James Brown was doing his b-boy stance, showing the world how to rhyme and dance, using funky drum beats and basslines that would be some of the most sampled music by hip-hop artists. As Ali and James showed us how to rap and use that inner B-Boy, they also taught us to stand up and fight for our rights. Ali risked prison time and was banned from boxing in the U.S. for some time because he didn’t want to go to war in Vietnam. While James Brown penned the first real anthem for young black civil rights activists, telling them to “Say it loud...I’m black and I’m proud.” Ali’s defiance and Brown’s anthem laid the foundation for the political and social awareness records we heard from legendary artists like Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five (The Message) and Chuck D & Public Enemy (Fight the Power). While this is just an extremely simplified version of the foundation of hip-hop music, it might help shed a bit of light on just how old this genre is. Hip-Hop is not new and it isn’t going anywhere. So, as I segue into the actual “meat” of this expose, I want to leave you with this thought: Chuck D said in Summer 2013, “The biggest source of power (in the world) today is knowledge of self and knowledge of your surroundings.” Without understanding who you are and who you’re being influenced by, you’re powerless.
I Am Entertainment | SEP-OCT ‘13
A whole lot of good has come from hip-hop. We’ve seen inner-city youth influenced by the genre become savvy businessmen, actors, activists, athletes and educators. In addition, we’ve even seen kids from the churches of America use the genre speak life into the lives of others through the music. We asked each of the above pictured artists, about the good things they’ve seen come out of hip-hop, and here’s what they said. Q: What was so good about hip-hop music that you felt led to be join it and be successful at it? POS: For De La Soul, success was measured by hearing ourselves on the station(s) that we listened to, personally. Whether it was BLS with Mr. Magic, or 98.7 KISS-FM with DJ Red Alert, we were just happy that they were playing our music. It was really that simple for us because we were young, and fans of both the music and those radio stations. We were truly just happy to be “on” and actually a part of the music business. I mean, being in the studio we would see guys we looked up to, like Stetsasonic or Rakim just a few feet away from us. We were just fans man! PRINCE: 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. KAMBINO: I grew up listening to a lot of music, but nothing really hit home to me like hip-hop did, you know? It speaks to where I’m from (Columbus, OH) and in a way that I can understand and convey it. It woke something up inside of me. But for me, the good that has come out of hip-hop, in general, is that it has introduced the world to some of the things that people from the ‘hood’ have seen. I guess that’s a
ALL PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE ARTISTS THEMSELVES
Hip-Hop is a genre full of talented people from various cities, styles, faiths, and perspectives. For this reason, we asked some of rap’s most respected artists, both mainstream and holy hiphop, to shed some light on the good, bad, and future of this highly influential artform.
HIP-HOP: THE GOOD, THE BAD, THE FUTURE
JOIN THE CONVERSATION ON TWITTER & FACEBOOK USE HASHTAG: #HipHopVerity @iaemagazine good thing and a bad thing, because on the flipside, young kids who grew up a bit more privileged than us have tried to act out some of the bad things portrayed in the music. But, the good part of it, for me, is that it gave me a voice and a way to convey what the Lord has put in my heart. WORDSMITH: HipHop has always been a way of life, in my mind. I mean, look at how the music changed America’s way of thinking, the way we speak, and the way we dress and present ourselves. You would think someone like the President could force change like that, but we had great music teachers like KRS One/Boogie Down Productions, Public Enemy, X-Clan, etc who led political movements. Groups like NWA, EPMD, 2Pac, etc were telling real life tales of the streets so, unlike today, there were a lot more choices in Hip-Hop back then; it made me a Hip-Hop junkie! SAU: My inspiration to become part of the Hip-Hop culture definitely came from the music aspect of it. As a child I remember music constantly being played in my household, family parties. My love for music was always prevalent, but it was when I first got a hold of my sister’s CD collection that I knew I had to be a part of Hip-Hop. I remember listening to her copy of Nas’s “It Was Written” and being fascinated with his ability to craft words over a beat and the skills he had as a storyteller. Whenever I sit down to create I always think of that moment and remember to write words that will resonate with my listeners just as that album did for me. The wordplay, storytelling, and ability to create something that can save someone are proof that Hip-Hop has so much good to offer. SEVIN: For me, it was different. Where I’m from in Sacramento we don’t have record labels. So, when I was coming up it didn’t seem realistic to get a record deal. Plus, I sucked at rapping homie! [laughs] I remember being in the back of class and somebody would do a beat on a desk and one of the big homies would say a verse and then try to pass it to me. But I sucked so bad that I couldn’t make it past four bars. [laughs] I didn’t really get good until I was like 17. I was a senior in high school, and I was the only one that was from the neighborhood I’m from; so, at lunch we would have these ciphers where representatives from various ‘hoods’ would rap about their city or ‘hood’. One time, this crip homie of mine, who was from a rival neighborhood, started rapping and he banged his neighborhood so hard that I felt it was my duty to hold it down for my mine. To this day, I think that was probably the dopest verse I ever spit. After that experience, it was like I just all of a sudden had this knack to go (freestyle). But, a couple months later the Lord arrested my heart and I gave my life to God. But, I never forgot what it was like to influence people through hip-hop. We could go to a house party and entice people to commit murder just based on the words we would say
to each other. But I realized very quickly that my words were very powerful, so instead of influencing people to do bad things, I wanted to influence other cats that grew up like me to walk with God.
As with everything in this world, you have to take the good with the bad; and as we all know, everything in hip-hop hasn’t been great. Whether it’s greed, lack of respect for God and others, murder, drugs, and the list goes on; many rappers have contributed to a lot of the negativity we see in society today. So we figured, who best to speak on it than the artists who make the music? Q: We all know that everything in hip-hop ain’t all good. The genre has seen its fair share of bad seeds representing it through tainted lyrics that seem to perpetuate reckless behavior. In what ways have you seen hip-hop music negatively impact you personally, and/or society as a whole? PRINCE: I think it commercialized greed. I’ll say this because, the truth is that corporations took hip-hop 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 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! POS: From an artist’s perspective, when we did, De La Soul Is Dead, we were talking about things that were going on with us directly; not necessarily addressing the industry as a whole. We were dealing with the label telling us they needed another “Me, Myself and I”, so we finally started to see the business parts of it all. Our first managers were Russell Simmons and Lyor Cohen, and they would tell us, “Yo, you gotta go to this radio station or they won’t play your record,” or “You have to go do this for us so that the guys behind you will have a chance to succeed.” So, the business side of it was seeping into this dream we had envisioned for De La Soul as a group. For us we were looking at it like, “These are our rhymes and our music,” instead of seeing it as a business and the fact that it was bigger than just our songs. We were seeing payola happen, and seeing Russell negotiate with people like, “If you don’t play De La Soul, I’m not going to give you Run DMC!” So, we were seeing all of that and be-
cause we were still young, we got a little frustrated by it. That’s part of what you felt and heard in “De La Soul Is Dead.” SEVIN: Being young and dumb, and growing up in the ‘hood’ not having anything, I really believed in my heart that I was going to go platinum. I saw that as being the hallmark of success and anything less was failure. But, every time I went to Hollywood to do a meeting with a label, I would always hear the same thing over and over again. They would say I was one of the most talented people they’ve ever met, but I needed to cut down on “this God thing.” I was even brought in to write for Dr. Dre’s “Detox” album, but I couldn’t do it because I didn’t agree with the kind of content they wanted me to participate in writing. What young dudes need to understand is that, with those types of opportunities there’s always a compromise of your morals waiting in the shadows. Even if they appear to accept you at first, it’s only so that later on down the road they can present you with a compromise of some sort. It happens to every person in the secular music industry. WORDSMITH: The same ways I feel HipHop opened America’s eyes to a new culture in the 90’s, it’s starting to undo all that work. A lot of it, in my eyes, has to do with this current generation’s upbringing. We basically have kids raising kids, so it’s not like a lot of parents are putting on an Eric B. & Rakim album to give the youth a good history lesson. Not that you shouldn’t enjoy life, but when your parents are in the clubs rocking to some twerk song and playing it around their children, a kid is going to think this current brand of HipHop is what represents real life. It’s literally being shoved down our kids’ throats right now, so I leave it to the parents because we are our children’s greatest teachers. If we say, at an early age, “You can’t listen to this,” or “I’m not buying you that album or letting you watch that video,” a child is going to take note. If we can shield kids from watching R rated movies, then why don’t we do the same with music? Most albums in the HipHop genre are rated R now, but it’s not viewed that way. Right now sex, flashy lifestyles and false tales of living the “good life” is presented as America’s current way of life. I say to myself, “How in the hell did HipHop go from enlightening society, to straight corrupting it?” KAMBINO: Hip-Hop has always been boastful. That started with the battle rapping where cats always wanted to get the upper-hand because they didn’t want to get got! [laughs] So, dudes would say what they could do to their opponents on the mic, and I think it migrated from the mic to what I will do to you if you disrespect me in person. Some of that is real too, because there are some cats who will actually pull heat (a gun) and use it with no problem. But, some dudes hear the real cats say they’ll pull heat, so they turn around and regurgitate and glorify that mentality on their songs. But what these
SEP-OCT ‘13 | I Am Entertainment
The MUSICIAN’S Corner HIP-HOP: THE GOOD, THE BAD, & THE FUTURE (continued) cats don’t understand is that their words have a lot of power.When we (rappers) are speaking these things and people consistently hear them (words), then their lives begin to resemble what we’re speaking. There was a point in time when every question I had about life came with a hip-hop lyric that I could say as a response to the situation. By repeating those lyrics I was hearing, it started to dictate who I became and how I was moving. So, when you speak lyrics that are violent, whether it’s fake or real, you have to understand that a lot of people can’t separate out what’s real. So they turn around and live out what their favorite rapper said on his lyrics and that’s how cats wind up dead or locked up. When that happens, it’s clear that that’s the bad hip-hop brought to the world. SAU: Of course with the good you get the bad, but I don’t feel that Hip-Hop has changed our society for the worse. HipHop music and culture has always been a reflection of what is taking place in our surroundings, neighborhoods and streets. These artists write and discuss what they grew up around and seen on a daily basis and we as the listener perceive it as we want. Now, do I feel that Hip-Hop can do a better job of discussing certain things? Yes. I believe that it’s not what we say, but how we say it and who we’re talking to. I feel that issues of poverty, violence, drugs and things of that nature should be talked about, but in good taste and never done in a manner to mislead others.
The future of hip-hop is uncertain. While we know it will continue to exist, we don’t know what it will look like; if it will be a hollow shell of mindless commercial drivel, or if it will actually restore the creativity it once bred and shine again. Here, the cast shares their thoughts on where they feel their beloved hip-hop is headed. 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? WORDSMITH: Its bleak, but the great thing about life in general is, it’s ever changing. Music organically evolves. Right now, (record) labels, radio and TV are pushing the dumbed down form of Hip-Hop because that’s what those with power are feeding us; and the public is saying they like it. It will take artists like Eminem, Kanye West, and Jay-Z to come out with high quality music that redefines Hip-Hop. I picked these artists because they hold heavy influence in the game, when it comes to how (Hip-Hop fans) talk, dress and present ourselves. If they say all this twerk, sex, drug music isn’t popping anymore it will fade quickly. The artists I mentioned also have had long careers because they re-invent themselves and keep their music fresh. Overall, if you’re blessed to be in a position of power in Hip-Hop it’s your duty to change the game for the better or worse. (Preferably for the better) PRINCE: 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 represen-
I Am Entertainment | SEP-OCT ‘13
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tative 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 hiphop 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. SEVIN: As a man who has been doing this for over 14 years and has one of the biggest followings in this thing; I’ll be the first to say that those of us who have been doing it at a certain “level” have not been doing our job to raise up the next generation in this. We’re so busy trying to have our day in the sun that we haven’t been paying attention to the young dudes who are watching us, and we are about to reap the whirlwind of that. We’re no different than the dude in Proverbs who built up this inheritance and left it to a stupid son. He spent so much time building up the inheritance that he didn’t have time to teach his son how to manage it all. That’s why a few years ago I shifted my focus from music, and now I spend about 75% of my time doing discipleship. The rest is focused on dropping records and making sure that we’re touring and out there doing our thing bro. As a result, I’m happy to report that, Hog Mob is now discipling over 1200 people per month, globally. This doesn’t include what we do through the music and shows. I haven’t been to seminary and I don’t have any major church or ministry backing me. I don’t say that to brag either; I say it to show that anybody who is willing to answer the call can do this and have this type of impact. But you have to stop caring about your career, and your spotlight. You have to start thinking about the future. Everybody’s so caught up in the Hollywood aspect of this industry that they can’t see the truth. I disagree with a lot of the things some people in Christianity do, and they may disagree with me sometimes, but that’s all irrelevant if people aren’t being saved because we’re too busy debating. Who
cares if I have 20,000 followers on Twitter if these people don’t know Christ, are living a destructive lifestyle, and are in danger of burning in hell? My CD is not a meal ticket into Heaven homie! So, I don’t care how many CDs I sell. I care more about discipleship and helping the young dudes behind me get right with God. Fulfilling ‘The Great Commission’ in Mark 16 is all I care about. POS: It’s definitely here to stay. What I always try to tell people is that De La Soul, Rakim, Big Daddy Kane, and Will Smith & DJ Jazzy Jeff have to stay relevant. That doesn’t mean I have to be relevant to my daughter who is 20 years old; it just means that I have to be relevant to those who came up with De La. Those of us in our generation of hip-hop have to learn to do more than just reminisce on what it used to be. We have to look at what’s in the present and incorporate some of that into what we do, while still holding onto what’s valuable to our generation of hip-hop. When you do that, you create some familiarity for the younger generations and you’ll draw them in. For instance, when we did the collaborations with the Gorillaz a few years ago (“Feel Good Inc” won the Grammy for Best Pop Vocal Collaboration); that introduced so many younger people to our older catalog, and they went crazy over it. We’ve been able to keep ourselves relevant and keep touring. We just came off the “Kings of the Mic Tour” with LL, Ice Cube, and Public Enemy. The only thing I see in the future of hip-hop is that there’s been an overwhelming lack of creativity and forward thinking taking place. For example, if you call yourself “Young ___”, someday you’re not going to be so young and you’re going to have to rethink that whole strategy. So, how you treat yourself, name yourself, and the music you put out plays a big factor in your longevity. With the exception of kids like Kendrick Lamar, who is very creative and is challenging other artists to step up their game lyrically, you have to wonder what hiphop is going to look like in the future. While we know it’s not going anywhere, the question is what is it going to be? [laughs] And that, I’m not too sure about. SAU: Though there are a lot of artists that focus on money and club anthems I do believe Hip-Hop has a bright and positive future. Artists such as J. Cole, Kendrick Lamar, Lupe Fiasco, Jay-Z etc, show that substance, passion and artistry still exists. Writers of this caliber push others to become true artist and master their craft instead of chasing the current fads or what’s in at the moment. As long as Hip-Hop continues to push the envelope and inspire those who create it and listen to it there will be a positive future for our culture. Being labeled as (part of) Hip-Hop’s future is not something that I take lightly and it is something to be valued. I pride myself on my ability to create soulful music with depth and feeling to it. I plan to bring the feeling of nostalgia to the listener, taking them back to that moment when they first heard their favorite song. I will continue to push the genre of Hip-Hop forward and show my fans and outsiders that the future of our culture is in good hands. Life is all about balance and that certainly applies to the world of music. So, I plan on bringing balance and quality music to the game. iae
POS aka PlugWon Grammy® Winner KAMBINO: I think that as long as you have people like myself and others in Hip-Hop who represent what God has to say about the same subjects that cats like Jay-Z and Kanye West are talking about, then we’re in good shape. It’s when you try to drown out diversity in Hip-Hop and everything is one-sided, that’s when you have a bleak situation on your hands. So, my personal view is that Christian hip-hop is needed, because somebody has to speak life and positivity into the fans lives at some point. People are tired of the garbage being shoved down their throats. I don’t blame the artists for where Hip-Hop is sonically or even the message; it’s the people who are funding the artists who are telling them that, “this is what the fans want, and this is what you have to give them in order to sell records.” Those same money people are the ones putting the big budgets behind the radio stations, so in-turn the radio heads listen to the labels who tell them what to play. When that’s the only thing that’s being spun on the radio, then that’s all people know about. I hate tuna fish, but if I’m starving and that’s all that’s there for me to eat...I’mma eat tuna fish! Eventually, I’m going to grow accustomed to that taste, and even though I’m hungry for something else, I’ll keep feeding on tuna until steak is available. People don’t want the garbage they’re getting from mainstream Hip-Hop, but they don’t know about the tons of other artist who are releasing the stuff the fans want, because the labels and radio stations are shutting us out. But thanks to artists like Kendrick Lamar, who is bringing back that competition and originality in the music, I think Hip-Hop is going to come full circle and get back to what it started out as. He didn’t use any “trap beats”, his sound was totally different form everybody else’s and that’s why it worked. The fans want substance music, not all this popcorn club garbage. I believe that Christian Hip-Hop is also going to play a big part in the music coming full-circle with substance. What’s more substance than the truth? Our brand of Hip-Hop is at the same place where original Hip-Hop was when it first started back in the day. It’s a grassroots type of movement that, as it grows people can’t help but notice it. All the stereotypes of what people once said about Christian hip-hop are changing. They’re noticing that our beats are just as tight, and we can spit just as good, if not better in many cases. It’s just the core of the message speaks life into your situation, as opposed to telling you to be reckless as though there are no repercussions. iae
TWEET THE CAST: @PlugWonDeLaSoul @DJPrincePaul @SevinHogmob @Wordsmith @KamBINO79 www.iaemagazine.com
One of the dopest MC’s in Hip-Hop, POS is a founding member of De La Soul. A living legend of the game, POS and De La have given us some of the hottest classics in Hip-Hop history.
DJ Prince Paul Grammy® Winner One of the game’s most respected HipHop DJs-producersartists, Prince Paul is a heavyweight. Think we’re joking? You know you’re large when Chris Rock hires you to produce his comedy albums!
Sevin (Hog Mob) West Coast Vet
This man is one of West Coast HipHop’s dopest MC’s; but to Sevin, none of that matters. Don’t let his looks fool you, Sevin’s focus is sharing Christ in places your favorite rappers are scared to go into.
Kambino Midwest Veteran
Flying under the “radar”, Kam is one of the most official artists in Holy HipHop. Armed with the breastplate and sword of scripture, Kam is helping save the lives of inner city youth through his music.
Wordsmith East Coast Vet
Don’t get it twisted, this cat is official! Wordsmith is probably one of the most underappreciated artists in Hip-Hop right now. But that’s changing thanks to his constant work with brands like ESPN, Nintendo, VH1, and more. We don’t have to explain, the man’s name speaks for itself!
The MUSICIAN’S Corner
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SHOULD FAITH-BASED HIP-HOP BE CALLED HIP-HOP OR LABELED CHRISTIAN HIP-HOP? Interview By: Justin Hunt / Edited By: Senseitional
As artists like Lecrae, break down barriers in Hip-Hop by proving that those who share the gospel of Christ can still be as credible as their secular counterparts; most faith-based rappers still struggle for equality and acceptance in both the “world” and the church. Here, Double of Atlantabased City Takers weighs in the issue.
hear things about Chuck D, where he was headlining a tour but he didn’t care about that flashy stuff, he just wanted to say what he had to say. With those two, Rakim and Nas; they were all just the dopest lyricists. Even if I didn’t agree with everything they said, all of them had something that they wanted to impress upon you. Then, when I heard Corey Red and Precise, they made me feel like you could still be as hood as you are and still rep the King (Jesus). Cross Movement had the business side, and Tunnel Rats made me realize that you could still be lyrically dope, have hot production, and be underground. Those are the reasons I said all of those artists influenced me.
What artists influenced you the most? On the secular side, I would say Nas, Chuck D, Rakim, and KRS-One. But, on the Christian side of it I’d say Cross Movement, Corey Red, Precise, and the whole Tunnel Rats movement. With Chuck D and KRS-One, they are just true artists. I would
What do you feel is the Good, the Bad, and the Future of Hip-Hop? The good is that lyricism is coming back, and while it’s not at the forefront yet, it is starting to make its way back.
of City Takers HIP-HOP ARTIST www.citytakers.com
The bad part is that money and fame rules the industry. The problem with that is, the people who truly have something of substance to say aren’t really being given the same opportunities to be heard. So, whether it’s a DJ Khaled or Young Money; or on the Christian side Reach Records, they can say “you’re going to like this because our name is on it”, and they’ll be heard. Whereas, the underground cats aren’t getting that same treatment. That’s really ruining Hip-Hop. With the future, I think there will be more of a balance between music with substance and the more commercial stuff. I believe we’re slowly going back to that but we still have a bit of a stretch ahead. The future of our side (Holy Hip-Hop) of it is going to become more of a missional thing. I don’t say that just because of what we do at City Takers; I say that because I believe we (Holy Hip-Hop) want to reach people and give them something of substance. So, to me the future of what we do as Christians who rap is going to be more missional. We see what artists like Lecrae is doing, where he’s breaking into the mainstream side of it, but in the end, we’re all just saying, “Yo! We just want to reach people!”
Do you feel that the earlier Christian rappers were in that “box” back then? I’ve never thought about that. [laughs] I believe they were unintentional on making music just for believers, but because the gospel is not easily accepted by the mainstream, they got labeled. Also, it was easier to perform in churches than to pay to perform in secular venues. Also, I’m sure they had kids in their youth groups at church who were listening to secular rap, so they wanted to provide an alternative message for those kids. Like I said, I think they were unintentional in boxing it up. iae
I Am Entertainment | SEP-OCT ‘13
PHOTO COURTESY: Double/Justin Hunt
Speaking of Christian Hip-Hop; you’ve been doing this for a long time, even before City Takers. What does Christian Hip-Hop mean to you? If you want to box it up as just “Christian Hip-Hop” then, it means you’re doing music that’s Christcentered, but the message is really only going to connect with other Chrisitans. There’s nothing wrong with that because believers who like HipHop can be encouraged and edified by it. But, I do believe that we don’t know where we’re going with it (Holy Hip-Hop) because, we’ve only gone so far. I struggle with this as an artist as well because, when you’re called a Christian artist it makes it hard to be seen (outside of the church). It makes it hard to be able to go out and compete with what secular artists are doing in the genre, and present an alternative message to what those artists are saying. Some people want to make music for just Christians and that’s fine, but there are some artists who are coming out of that “box” of Christian Hip-Hop because they know that the whole world needs the Gospel.
Indie MUSICIAN’S Corner
“I can guarantee that Kurt Kobain was not trying to develop a sound, he was just doing what he loved ...”
2013 Diesel Jeans Indie Music Series Winner ROCK ARTIST www.erickmacek.com
What influenced your passion for music? To start, my parents imigrated from Slovakia, and the reason I bring that up is because, what I thought was normal wasn’t necessarily normal to most kids in America. When I was like three years old, my dad handed me an accordian and that was my first encounter with a musical instrument. I don’t read music but, by the time I was six years old I was playing waltzes with my dad and brothers in a family band. So, when I’d go to school and invite kids to dance and jam on accordian, they’d say, “what are you talking about?” [laughs]
ERICK MACEK PHOTO BY: Petra Rajnicova
How did your parents’ struggles, as immigrants in the U.S., factor into your desire to succeed in music? I kid you not, my parents came over to the states with like 50 bucks to their name, and I sometimes complain about stuff that’s not even close to what they went through. They came over here not even knowing how to speak the language, and that had to be tough because they had my oldest brother at the time; I’m the youngest of three. They immigrated to New York, which is one of the most expensive places to live in the U.S., but my dad met this Polish guy he could kind of talk to and he was able to find work as a mechanic. After going on “The Voice”, how did that show help you propel your career forward? It was a great experience because it put me in front of a larger audience. But I’m a big fan of bands who built their fanbase grassroots like, Dave Matthews Band and Zac Brown Band. Those fans stay with you, as opposed to the ones who might have heard of you from a TV show like “The Voice”. But, I do have to say that I’m very happy that it happened when it did because I already had three albums out by that time, so when people got online to check me out they saw that I’ve been around a minute. I think those fans who came from “The Voice” saw that I was an established artist and not just some new kid trying to make it on reality TV. While I am an original artist, singing covers isn’t my thing so it didn’t go as well as I had hoped, but I still hit 20 million people in 4 minutes. [laughs] It wasn’t easy to get on there though, because I had to do everything myself. I didn’t have a manager or anybody really helping me. I stood in line for hours at The Forum in Englewood
(California) just to get an audition. If anything, that show gave me a tremendous amount of confidence to know that I can do this on a larger scale because there were like 100,000 people who tried out for that show and I was able to actually make it onto TV. So, it was a great experience for me. Talk about your latest release? I decided to take a detour with my latest release, because I already had 3 studio albums out and my fans were telling me the love to see me live. So I decided to do “Erick Macek: Live In San Diego”. The thing about a live album is that you can’t go back and recut takes like you can on a studio album. I’m a graphic designer also, and when you do that kind of work you become very meticulous. So, with this “Live” release, it was me just listening to my fans and not being a perfectionist. Just letting the music happen organically, as opposed to making every take exactly how I have it in my head. So, it’s a very cool project that I’m very excited about. What have you learned about the business of music and touring that you’d advise every artist to learn before going through it? I advise them to get past just being creative, and truly learn and understand the business side of it. As artists, sometimes we get inside our own heads and we don’t understand that once the creative side is over and we have this album done, we have to try and do business to make it successful. Also in music, it’s not like you’re going to get your PhD and then you’ll get a job. With school, there’s this fine path that you know you’re on and what you’re getting into; but with music, it’s not like that at all! It’s 100% crash course because every artist’s path is different. It’s not so cut and dried. You strive to be your best, but then people tell you that you’ve got to do things that are similar to what you hear by other artists in your lane. But, I can guarantee that Kurt Kobain was not trying to develop a sound, he was just doing what he loved and what came natural to him. So, what I’ve learned is that you have to have passion for your music, because when you’re doing music honestly instead of trying to just fit the “norm”, it’s not a lie and fans can tell that it’s real. We hear all this talk about the music industry dying, but it depends on who you ask. There are some artists who are doing well, while others are not. It’s that honesty is what I’ve learned really resonates with your core audience. My mother used to tell me that I needed to stop trying so hard on my songs, and then my fans were pretty much saying the same thing when they asked for a live album. Granted, people aren’t buying CD’s nearly as much as they used to, but some still do (buy CD’s). They will buy it if it’s something they feel is real. So, my advice is to just do what you love and you’ll find your audience and your sound.
SEP-OCT ‘13 | I Am Entertainment
Indie MUSICIAN’S Corner
RAGING FYAH BAND MEMBERS
Delroy Hamilton – Bass Guitarist Anthony Watson – Drummer Kumar Bent – Lead vocalist Demar Gayle – Keyboards Courtland White – Lead Guitarist
How did Raging Fyah come together? The Fyah was ignited in 2006 by Anthony, Demar and Delroy. At the time we were students of the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts; after repeatedly being a part of the same ensemble in class, we started bonding and soon were able to find a defined sound. Later, with the addition of Courtland and Kumar, the Fyah was in its full Raging force! We started to write and produce our own music and on August 7th 2011 we launched our debut album titled ‘Judgement Day’.
With so many people releasing music through the internet, what has been the toughest part about getting your name out there? The internet has actually been very helpful in getting our name out there as we get messages from people all over Available In Stores & iTunes Now the world including territories we have not yet performed in. While this medium is very helpful, it is not solve all challenges as the toughest part for us is mass production, marketing and getting the music to the right agencies/promoters and recording labels.
What’s the title of your latest release and what can people expect to hear? ‘First Love’. It’s a classic lovers-rock reggae song, with a beautiful melody and smooth rhythm. This song showcases a real life love experience. Whether it is someone or something, sometimes we just need to follow our hearts, our passions and go back to that First Love.
What is coming up for Raging Fyah this fall (September-December)? We have a few dates lined up for the West Coast (US) then we’ll be going to South America. We will also be spending a lot of the time in studio working on our second album; so we can hit the road with new songs for the fans, and keep the Fyah Raging in 2014! iae
RAGING FYAH PHOTO BY: Puru El
KINGSTON, JAMAICA REGGAE ARTIST www.RagingFyah.com
Indie MUSICIAN’S Corner
2012-2013 JUNO NOMINATED COUNTRY-POP ARTIST www.cynthialeighann.ca
Cynthia Leigh-Ann is a rising young country star in her native Canada. After grabbing a Juno Award nomination (the Canadian equivalent of a Grammy), this talented singer took some time out to talk about what she’s up to.
PHOTO COURTESY: NHT Productions
Who, or what, infuenced you to get into music early on in life? It was always my dream to be a musician and singer. In my graduation of grade seven we were asked to create a book that contained our plans for the future, our dreams and hopes for what we might do. In my book, every page had something to do with music. I remember my grandmother, Anne Schroeder, who is now my manager, read my goals and saw that all I wanted to do was sing. So, she went to my dad and asked if he had read my goals and dreams for the future, and he said, yes. She (Anne) then asked him if it would be okay for her to manage my singing career, and he agreed to let her do it. My dad has become my biggest fan and a great mentor. But, I do have to say that I know and believe my grandma Anne has been the biggest reason I am a musician today. She has guided and booked me into the biggest festivals, and has walked with me every step of the way. My Papa Udo has paid for all of my music training, travel expenses, and all of my equipment. I would not be where I am today if it weren’t for my grandparents, Anne and Udo Schroeder. What’s the title of your latest release and tell us a little bit about the process of making the album? My latest release is called, “What You Don’t Know”. This song is for all the ladies who head out to the bar on a girls’ night out and have a sleazy guy hitting on them. I’m very fond of this song, as I wrote it at the VIMBC confrerence for singers and songwriters. We were placed into groups and asked to punch out a song in a little less than 48 hours. Then, we were asked to perform it in front of the producers in attendance. We lucked out and wound up with the same producer we picked to pick us. After recording this song it was presented to the entire
conference and the best song won. Unfortunately, we didn’t win but I am very proud of the song. My fellow writers Ralph Murphy and Doug Folkins, both renowned songwrtiers, and friend, Justine Collins, all made my process so outstanding. With all of our ideas coming together to make this killer song, I am so excited to see where it goes. The stars are the limit! Tell us about your recent Juno Award nomination? This was a very exciting time for me; I couldn’t believe I had been nominated! I got a call from my manager one day and she was super excited. She asked if I was sitting down, and then she told me I was nominated two years in a row. I hope this coming year I actually break in! It was a very good thing I was sitting down because I almost fell off my chair. [laughs] All these amazing things feel so surreal, but I am loving every minute I get to spend doing music. I wouldn’t change a thing about it. I also have been nominated for the BC Country Music Awards, CC Music Awards, and many local awards to round things out. What’s been the most fulfilling part about being a recording artist? It’s great when I look into the crowd and the fans are singing along with me! When they know all the words to the songs you can feel their love and affection for your music. I believe it’s important people feel the passion and stories behind my songs. Without my fans I would not be the artist I am; nor would I be able to produce the songs I do. It was always my dream to have a song touch someone so deeply that it can change their mood for the better, or help them work through whatever (situation) they need to. All the fame and fortune that could possibly come from being a recording artist means absolutely nothing if you don’t have the fans to reach out to, play for, and feed off of. At one of my shows, my most favorite moment is when I can look out into the crowd and see them having a good time. Every artist knows that it is their fans who make the show. My fans are the most fulfilling part of my career as a recording artist. iae
“It’s great when I look into the crowd and the fans are singing along with me! When they know all the words to the songs, you can feel their love and affection for your music.” SEP-OCT ‘13 | I Am Entertainment
LIVE CONCERT COVERAGE
“The normal thing for most drummers in bands is to just play the drums as part of the band. I differ by developing the entire live session on laptops with all the individual drum samples as well as the bass, keys and vocal samples for each song.”
TOTAL DESTRUCTION WORDS & INTERVIEW BY: Dale Falk, Jr. (CEO of Network Frequency)
I Am Entertainment | SEP-OCT ‘13
PHOTOS COURTESY OF KJ SAWKA
There is no reason for any dance music or live entertainment fan to miss the epic experience that is a Destroid concert. Looking into the sea of life that was the crowd before their stage at Camp Bisco and feeling the energy from their massive sound was nothing but a flood of lights, euphoria and rage sessions! Destroid, in case you have been living under a rock, is the band created by Excision, Downlink and drummer, KJ Sawka. NETFREQ.tv sat down with KJ to talk about what has been created with the rise of Destroid! When it comes to live performances, Destroid is one of the most anticipated acts of this “Festival Season” and year. Where did the inspiration for this massive collaboration come from? It’s been a long time coming act for Jeff and Sean. I believe they started on the ideas several years back. When they asked me to be a part of it, things started to really take shape in a live performance and visual way. You’d have to ask Jeff, but he loves Trex, transformers and alien shit, so the
ideas are not far off from those. There is no lack of talent on Destroid’s roster, how does your individual solo live performances influence the union together? I bring a added perspective and collaboration with song writing, drum beats, drum tones and transforming a bass music studio production into a live on stage production. Taking us live is my main element. The drums are the workhorses of any live show, what are some of your strengths performance wise that separate you from the average drummer? For example: What kind of warm up or preparations do you take before you getting on stage? The normal thing for most drummers in bands is to just play the drums as part of the band. I differ by developing the entire live session on laptops with all the individual drum samples as well as the bass, keys and vocal samples for each song. Triggering off sounds from a drum set is very different from just playing the drums. It takes a different dynamic and you have to deal with latency. Before each show I try to stretch out my whole body, which helps keep everything loose and flexible so I don’t get any cramps or get tired. With only a few shows performed so far, what kind of level excitement is behind this experience at playing at Camp Bisco with Destorid for you? The hype has been very good so far. Camp Bisco is a cool festival for me because I’m in the band Conspirator with Marc and Aron who started Camp
Bisco. I did a solo set there 4 or 5 years back as well so the Sawka vibes were in full effect! So about Excision and how 100,000 watts is a lot of sound! What kind of innovations has Destroid made to bring dance music into the live instrument realm? We have custom one of a kind instruments. Guitar, Bass and Drums. The guitar and bass were made to play soft synths and trigger off all the guitar and basslines from the songs. It’s endless what we can do live. It’s the first time I’ve made a fully electronic drumkit instead of a hybrid. This is a purely electronic band. Oh, I do have two crash cymbals for extra sizzle. We’ve yet to play on a 100k watt sound system with the band. It’s something to look forward to! The combination of Downlink, Excision and KJ Sawka is incredible collab and brings a varied of sounds and styles to the table for Destroid. What other kind of collaborations are in store for “The Elevated” aka your fan base? In due time it will be known. How has social media and other viral marketing prepared Destroid for Camp Bisco and other major performances ahead? What’s something different about your movement? We differ from the norm as we are not from this earth and are not human. What is ONE promise you want to make to your fans and people attending a Destroid show? Your face will be melted with bass. iae
SEP-OCT ‘13 | I Am Entertainment
All Reviews By Senseitional, Reviews Editor (I Am Entertainment)
CLUB AMERICA FEATURED REVIEW
Decibals Genre: Synth Pop/Indie Rock Album: TO GET THERE Location: Sorocaba, São Paulo (Brazil) Club America represents the great state of Sao Paulo, Brazil very well on their latest release, “To Get There”. On this 10 song album we get a hefty does of Club America’s very creative and fun sound that offers a vintage 80’s pop-rock tone and is clear evidence that Brazil has amazing music to go along with its beautiful beaches and people. From the outset, Club America establishes their sound on the song, “We Need No One”. This track has a very Brit-pop/rock feel that is reminiscent of artists like Sting and the Police, or elements of the band, Oasis. Club America takes their own journey into the world of impacting the lives of music lovers with this awesomely produced and well performed song. I could definitely hear this one in a few movies. On their song All The Things I’ve Done, Club America adds a tint of hip-hop flavor to the color of their To Get There album. All The Things... features Texas based hip-hop artist, Da Deputy, who is a real problem and we’ll be keeping a close watch on this guy. This a great collaboration, kinda how dope Lincoln Park & Jay-Z’s collabo. Other cool songs on To Get There include: “For All That I Am”, “Blueberry Kiss”, and “Stranger In My House”. Each of these tracks continues to brand Club America’s sound, making them an easy fit for any international music festival. I would definitely recommend checking this out if you like good, fun music. Website: www.clubamerica.com.br Love X Stereo (Electro/Rock/Alternative) Album: Glow Home: Seoul, Korea
Haling from the city of Seoul (Korea that is), Love X Stereo’s brings forth a brand new EP release titled “Glow,” which is set for release on September 26 (2013). The sound on this project is a cross pollination of several genres that can only be summed up as Alternative Dance. It is Love X Stereo’s uniqueness that makes their new 7 track EP such a fun and interesting project.
I Am Entertainment | SEP-OCT ‘13
My favorite song on this project is “Soul City (John Gaska Remix)” because it has a great deal of club potential for U.S. markets. It’s a synth-pop groove that could easily feature Will.I.Am on the track, which could bring a lot of great exposure for this band. Right out of the gate the track grabs you with its awesome pop/electronic beat that is heavily laced with synthesizers to provide the necessary bed of melodies. This particular remix of Soul City will get the party started for just about anybody. In addition, songs like “Lose To Win” and “Secrets” round the project out very well and I couldn’t help but enjoy the projects rainbow of sounds and styles. For the most part, the project is upbeat with honest melodies and lyrics. I’d recommend Love X Stereo to anyone who has affinity for Alternative Rock and Electronic/Dance music. Love X Stereo is scheduled to appear at a number of U.S. and Canadian music festivals and venues this fall. Don’t miss them! Visit the following URL to see when they’ll be in your area.
Decibals SAU (Hip-Hop) Album: Now or Never Home: Alta Loma, Calif. SAU’s new release, Now or Never, is REAL HIPHOP! This is not a “mixtape”, but a real album release of 15 ridiculously hot joints. One listen to this kid and you’ll know the future of the genre is in good hands. SAU found a way to turn a concoction of hotsauce and battery acid into written form and spit that heat into a mic. Now that the fire is blazing, this album just needs a few 100 thousand ears to burn up. So put on your Beats headphones and crank this joint up! If you’ve been craving a real hip-hop record...listen to Do or Die! This is the dopest record on the project because it has that real boom bap type beat and DJ scratching that made the music of hip-hop so influential. In addition, SAU wins major points by paying homage to all the greats he grew up on from the 90’s. From Nas to Dr. Dre, Tupac to Big L, Bone Thugs to Warren G, Jay Z to Snoop; SAU shows his appreciation for the cats who made hip-hop the most loved and hated genre in the world. Much respect for this one SAU! Unlike the club rap that has the game messed up these days, SAU’s Now Or Never album is what real hip hop is all about. The beats are very hot, the rhymes are hot, and SAU’s delivery is on point. There was no real draw back to it, other than a few choice moments of pofanity that my virgin ears aren’t very fond of. Nevertheless, that still doesn’t negate the fact that this is that pure unadulterated hip-hop music! 15 songs for the cost of a cup of Starbucks? That’s a heck of a deal! Look...don’ t be a cheapskate...go buy this dude’s music because it’s real art. We have to support the dudes who are getting hip-hop right. Also... go listen to him on Spotify and help him earn some of the money back that he spent. www.reverbnation.com/sau99
Decibals Dylan Sires (Indie Rock) Album: No One Home: Waterloo, Iowa Don’t let the fact that Dylan Sires and Neighbors’ (DSN) are from Iowa, fool you. The band’s latest 13 song release, “No One”, is a force to be respected. This album stands at the crossroads of 2013 and 1966, blending elements of 21st century alternative pop-rock with those of the music that made psychedelic tie-dye and VW peace vans cool. By releasing a full LP, DSN not only goes against the conventional wisdom of today’s indie/DIY movement where EPs are the cost effective way to test the market, this project tells us that the boys from Iowa are not just hoping to break through. No One is a bold declaration that DSN has no plans of going anywhere anytime soon. There are a number of amazing songs on Dylan Sires & Neighbors’ LP, but of them all my favorite has to be “Two Bad Brothers”. This particular song embodies the greatness of DSN’s musical talents, and the band’s fearless approach toward creating music that is thin on production and thick on everything else that makes a great song pop. From the onset of the song, I drew a mental picture of Rick Grimes and Daryl Dixon from The Walking Dead riding into a zombie infested area with shotguns blazing. This is one powerful tune! In addition to “Two Bad Brothers,” DSN plants their feet firmly and gives us a number of awesome songs like: “Pictures of You”, “Save My LIfe”, and “In My Neighborhood” to name a few. I could sit here all day and talk about every single song, but it wouldn’t do you any good. Just take my word for it...this is an LP well worth skipping 2 cups of Starbucks to get. www.DSandN.com
Decibals Await Rescue (Rock) Album: Everyone You Know Home: Boston Boston definitely ain’t “green” when it comes to churning out great rock bands, and Await Rescue is proving it with their latest release, Everyone You Know. The equivalent of a molotov cocktail exploding on your eardrums, this 6 song EP is chock full of great songs that show off Await Rescue’s incredible talent as musicians and songwriters. The lead vocals of Johnny “Johntron/Tronathan Davis” Cutulle are utterly sick; and the skillful play of Drew (guitar), Corey (bass) and Matt (drums) adds the perfect audio landscape to each song. Personally, my favorite song on this project would have to be the title track, “Everyone You Know”. This particular song embodies the greatness of Await Rescue’s musical strengths and grabs the listener’s
FALL Decibals Josh Worden (Neo-Soul) Album: Night Home: Atlanta, GA
ENGRAVED IN BLOOD FEATURED REVIEW
Decibals Genre: Death Metal/Rock Album: Buried In A Forest of Bodies Location: Nottingham, UK Hailing from the lion’s den - United Kingdom, death metal rockers, Engraved In Blood are what you get when you hand Pinhead from Hellraiser an electric guitar. EIB’s latest release, Buried In A Forest of Bodies, will scare you if you’re not used to blood curdling screams over thrashing guitars. EIB’s music matches up well with your favorite slasher movies and will give any heavy metal junkie an adrenaline rush. The band’s new release is very comparable to much of the death metal music I’ve heard in recent times, and just like their genre mates, EIB rocks hard! After watching their video (see above), I gained a great deal of respect for their musical talent. The skill level at which the band plays their respective instruments is off the charts, and while I’m not an atheist and couldn’t really make out much of the words in the songs, I still had to respect their masterful playing abilities and strong vocal leads. I’m often amazed at guys who can sing like this night in and night out and still not lose their voice; it takes an incredible amount of talent. EIB’s new release is a 9 track shrapnel bomb being thrown at your auditory system, doing major internal damage if cranked at high volumes. There’s a massive audience out there that fits EIB well and I’m willing to bet that they could do just as well as bands like Slayer and Machine Head. I’d recommend this for fans of hardcore rock and metal music. www.facebook.com/engravedinblood ears as soon as it starts. The band’s cohesiveness plays a big part in why this song turned out so cool. Clearly on the same page, each member of the band plays his instrument with near perfect timing, complimenting Johntron’s sick vocal performance. This is a true winner and is a shoe-in for any film or video game; and trust me, you need this track in your music library. There are so many great tracks on Await Rescue’s EP that it’s well worth the purchase. It shouldn’t be a shocker since these guys have been together since 2006, and this is their 4th release. Where a lot of bands mess up is they can’t seem to find that “sweet spot” in their music and exploit it, but this is not the case for Await Rescue. Overall, Everyone You Know is a pretty solid EP that I’d recommend to Nirvana fans. www.AwaitRescue.com
Joshua Worden is the “s” in smooth and soul. On JW’s latest release, Always This, the Atlanta based soul singer reminds me of artists like Jon B, Glenn Lewis and Musiq Soulchild. Despite the current climate in mainstream music, which seems to have set up roadblocks for R&B/Soul artists, Joshua Worden navigates his way to the forefront and puts on a show with this 10 song lineup. Kicking off the album, Worden sticks to the basics. Wielding a rhodes (by way of Nord), live drums, and a premium vocal performance as his primary weapons, JW takes us on a trip through the streets of Philly. As a producer who has worked with vocalists like BoyzIIMen and Karen Clark Sheard, I appreciated Josh’s delivery of each song and the fact that he wasn’t trying to do too much with his voice. I enjoyed the music so much I had to stop by his website and check out his videos. The dude’s got the goods. Songs like Midnight, Marrow, The Hunter, and The Line (feat. blctxt) validate everything I’m saying and justifies the perfect score in this review. If you’re a fan of Neo-Soul music, you should check this guy out because he’s utterly ridiculous. Go pick up Always This, you’ll be glad you did. www.joshuaworden.com
Decibals Jason Eli (Electronic) Album: Music Is Life Home: Auckland, NZ Music Is Life is the latest single released by London born and bred, Auckland (NZ) based DJ, Jason Eli. The song features UK R&B artist, Kevin Mark Trail of the group ‘The Streets’, whose voice adds a nice flair to the track. Music Is Life is a club track that fuses Reggae, Electronica, and break beats together creating an adrenaline rush on wax. With so much club music being released these days, it can be hard to carve out a clearly defined space for one’s self, but I believe Jason Eli is on his way to roping off his section and occupying the spotlight. I don’t say this because the music is the best in the business, but for the simple fact that he’s a DJ, which guarantees instant club spins; something very few artists in this genre can promise themselves. Therefore, Jason can easily put himself in the studio knowing that he will reach an audience his competitors will struggle to gain access to, unless they came through him. Brilliant! Music Is Life is very energetic and easy to dance to. Kevin Mark Trail’s crisp and simple vocal arrangements are easy enough to sing along with that listeners can instantly connect to it. This is a great collaboration, and I’d recommend it to fans of both Reggae and EDM music.
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SEP-OCT ‘13 | I Am Entertainment
Audio Technology 5 GREAT BUDGET MICS By Senseitional, Reviews Editor (I Am Entertainment)
When it comes to buying microphones, it can be a nightmare trying to decide which one is best for what you need among the googobs of different brands, styles, and prices out there. Ultimately, it really boils down to what you can afford and what application you’re looking to use said microphone for. Here, I’m going to focus on microphones that I’ve worked with that can be used for multiple applications; mainly vocals and acoustic guitars. Some people think they need a $3,000 microphone just because they saw it in a recording studio they recently visited, or because they saw their favorite artist/musician endorsing it. But the truth is, there are plenty of budget microphones that do just as well as the big boys. So, here are a few of my recommendations if you’re looking for a good microphone that will work well on vocals and guitars.
SHURE SM57 ($99)
Nobody I know will argue with this recommendation. I have used SM57 microphones for over a decade and can tell you that this beast of a microphone is, in my opinion, way under priced for the value it brings to a recording. I have cut various acoustic instruments and some backing vocals with this microphone and can tell you that you’re not going to find anything better than this for the price it has. I’ve seen this mic used to cut guitar parts for such artists as Usher, BoyzIIMen, and it’s rumored that even Lenny Kravitz uses this microphone. I believe this mic has even been used by President Obama.
AUDIO-TECHNICA AT4040 ($299)
I can’t say enough about how great this microphone is in a recording studio environment. I’ve used this microphone to cut vocals and guitars, and this thing really smokes! It is best when used with a great mic pre if you’re going to be cutting female vocals above the 850Hz range. I’d recommend a mic pre regardless, but this mic is definitely worth investing the $299.
SHURE KSM27 ($299)
This is another microphone that I’ve worked with in the recording studio, and as with most Shure products, the KSM27 delivers great quality for this dirt cheap price. While it’s not the best for recording guitar cabinets, it worked great on acoustic and nylon guitars. When it comes to vocals, just like the AT4040, it is best to have a good mic pre when cutting vocals in the high alto to soprano ranges. Nevertheless, this is a great mic for the budget conscious buyer.
RODE NTK ($529)
I have not worked with this mic personally, but I can tell you that I know people who have and they sware by it. From what’s been said, this mic works well for people who sing very loud. The mic has been used by artists like Mos Def, Chad Krueger of Nickelback, and many other top selling artists. This is a very reasonably priced microphone too.
AKG C414 ($1,099)
If you’ve got a little extra to spend, or you’re looking to trade in a mic to upgrade from one of the above mentioned mics (keep the SM57), this mic will give you everything you need. It delivers pristine quality, especially on vocals. I have used this mic in many different scenarios and it did the job well. I have seen the AKG C414 put to use on Grammy winning artists and can’t say enough about the amazing sound you’re going to get here. It’s worth every penny invested!
I’d love to hear about your experiences with these any of these mics; or if you use something else and would like to share your recommendations, please feel free to write me at email@example.com using the subject line “Audio Technology - Mics”. www.iaemagazine.com
With Grammy winning rockers, Jars of Clay on the cover, this issue features a hot expose on HIP HOP music, as well as some of the industry's...