Songwriterâ€™s Monthly David Sancious Samantha J Stamps
Pia Zadora The Skins Shelly Peiken
Contents Editor’s Notes . . . Page 3 The Skins: A young rock band that will blow your mind . . . Page 4 Stamps: More than a great band, Stamps is an experience! . . . Page 5 Samantha J: “Tight Skirt” . . . page 11 iRing: A cool, new controller for your i device . . . page 12 Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks: A farewell to ABB . . . Page 14 Valleri: Song fiction . . . Page 16 Flashback! The cover of Songwriter’s Monthly October 1996 . . . page 19 Shelly Peiken: “Self Infringement” . . . page 20 Girls Volume 2: All Adventurous Women Do . . . page 21 Laura Stincer: “Vortex of Glory” . . . Page 22 Kady Z and Pia Zadora: It’s In The Genes (Cover Story) . . . Page 24 Hans Zimmer: Composition contest . . . Page 40 The Sixties: “There It Isn’t” . . . Page 42 David Sancious: On tour with Sting and starting 2014 off right! . . . page 43 David Broza: Bringing peace to the Middle East through art . . . page 52
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Editor’s Notes For a long time, I was rather upset with James Lee Stanley. Not with the man or the artist — he’s rather brilliant and talented and I’ve always admired and respected that — but with a casual comment he once made during an interview. It was such a long time ago that I don’t remember his exact words, but the gist was: young people have no business writing. His point was that great writing takes an understanding of the bigger picture and until you’ve got a half a century or so fortifying your grasp of things, you simply don’t get it. I was young — well, relatively young — and currently earning my living as a writer and I mistakenly took his comment personally, thinking, “Is this guy talking about me?” Of course, that was not the case at all. But part of youth is that intense inward focus and those blasted insecurities, two things that definitely preclude writing with a greater understanding of the bigger picture. As I climb the ladder of years, I find there is a great deal in life that I took to be fact only to later discover that it was a popular consensus, at best. In fact, most facts are merely what people decide must be right based on the information on hand at the moment, nothing more. Yes, this includes the previous statement. Think of all the unchangeables that have changed. New math? Dinosaurs are birds?! There’s a planet that’s not really a planet?!! And what about history? It’s already happened, you cant change the past . . . yet still, it constantly evolves. I take issue with the definition of apophenia. It’s basically perceiving patterns and meaningfulness in unrelated things. The more experiences I gain, the more years I leave in the dust, the more I am certain some kid came up with that definition. Some day, this to shall change. “Perceiving meaningfulness in unrelated things” will become “recognizing meaningfulness in unrelated things.” It is all connected. The plot points of your life’s story, even the minor, seemingly insignificant ones, they all tie together and they do mean something. You might not understand everything right now, you might not see any reason why people pop in and out of your story, and you might wonder why a casual comment spoken such a long time ago still stays with you after all these years, but someday it will make sense. I promise. Thanks James!
The Skins Bayli Mckeithan’s fearsome napalm vocals incinerate the very air when she hits the chorus of “Surf.” Think Grace Slick and Janis Joplin. Think Black Sabbath jammin’ with Led Zeppelin! There has not been a band like The Skins in a long, long time. With Kaya Mckeithan’s aggressive snap on the bass, Reef Mckeithan’s crisp thwack on the drums, and Daisy Spencer and Russell Chell’s epic guitar work, this band is a bona fide supergroup. The stuff of legends. I kid you not. Check out the video, here. [“Surf” was the band’s first in-studio music video and it was recorded by Wreckroom Records. The video received over 10,000 views in its first week, but now boasts well over 500,000.] This young [ages: 15-21] Brooklyn-based rock band is currently on a North American tour with British musician Jake Bugg. The band is also working on a followup EP to its self-released 2012 EP, The Skins. According to the band’s Facebook bio: “The Skins has been receiving rave reviews since its release in January 2012, creating buzz from countless blogs, radio stations, and magazines.” For more info, visit: www.theskinsband.com www.facebook.com/theskinsband https://twitter.com/The_Skins www.youtube.com/theskinsband
Stamps It was a freakishly hot fall day in Philadelphia, and that meant it was perfect â€” well, a slight breeze would have been nice â€” for an outdoor festival. High School Nation, the clandestine event, which sneaks top acts into public schools across the country in an effort to raise awareness and funding for the arts, was making a stop at Martin Luther King High School. [You can read about that fabulous day, here.] When I arrived, there was a 4-piece band tearing it up on stage at soundcheck. The players were tight and even though she was just warming up, lead vocalist, Ren Patrick, was simply killing it! As she paced casually about the stage in her gold studded baseball cap (worn backwards), the husky growl of her voice charged the air with the raw power of a seasoned stadium rocker. Stamps at soundcheck
The core of Stamps is Ren Patrick (vocals) and Adam James (drums). Dave Cavalier (touring guitarist) and Rob Shore (touring bassist) rounded out the quartet that was performing that day. I caught up with the band a little bit after soundcheck when they were strategizing the best approach to hanging t-shirts about their booth. Songwriter’s Monthly: Hey, I’m from Songwriter’s Monthly, could I get a couple quotes from you? Dave Cavalier: Sure, it’s very nice to meet you (offering his hand). This is Ren. Ren Patrick: Oh, hi! (turning from her t-shirt hanging)
SM: I was talking to the sound guy [Kyle Krueger from Ernie Ball Music Man] during your soundcheck and he said Stamps is the only full band playing this event. How does that feel? RP: I kinda like that we’re the only one with a full band because I feel like we can melt some faces today (laughing) . . . along with this humidity! [Even Ren’s natural speaking voice carried a hint of that cool rasp I had admired during soundcheck.] [Stamps used to tour with a band called Tommy & The High Pilots. Tommy was/is the brother of the individual who founded High School Nation, Jimmy Cantillon. Stamps’ edgy brand of pop music was the perfect fit for HSN, so they were added to the lineup. This current tour was Stamps third time out with the organization.] SM: How long has Stamps been around? RP: We’ve been a band for three years.
SM: Is this current foursome comprised of the original members? RP: No, it’s crazy, our band has gone through a bunch of identity crises. We started as a sixties rock band and through just shifting and us changing as people, we realized we wanted to make pop music that makes you dance and have fun, but still has substance. SM: Who are the writers in the band? RP: Adam, the drummer, and I, we do the writing. SM: Where do your songs come from? RP: I always write from experience, that’s kind of how I cope with everything, by writing about it. It’s my therapy. SM: What kind of musical training or background do you have? RP: I started out singing classical and opera when I was a kid. I also did some jazz and played in a lot of big bands, but I just really love rock and roll! Dave Cavalier, Ren Patrick, and Rob Shore
SM: And you’re a drummer who writes music (turning to Adam)? Adam James: Sure. I can do a lot of things (laughing). In fact, I used to sing a song called “I’m Not Just a Drummer” with just me on guitar and vocals midway through our show. RP: Wait, what were the lyrics, again?! AJ: I did tap dancing, I could speak French, I don’t just crash cymbals, I crash cars, I throw darts . . . well (all laughing). You know, I have a wide array of skills and talents. [Interesting technical note: I had neglected to cover the interview mic with a wind screen and even though there was barely a hint of a breeze that afternoon, it sounded like Adam was talking in the middle of a polar vortex.] SM: Do you know theory? Ren Patrick and Rob Shore
AJ: I went to Elmhurst College (near Chicago) for music and I did the whole music theory and concert band thing. I learned a lot from that. I’d started on piano and college helped refresh my fundamentals. SM: So you became a drummer? AJ: A lot of people don’t even use a drummer, now. RP: All of the other bands here today only have a DJ. AJ: I’m trying to keep the drummer’s dream alive!
The Stamps Experience
Rob Shore: Drums add such a different energy. RP: I love it! You want to hear that beat, you want to feel it! RS: I play bass, so I want to feel it in the chest. My favorite thing ever is playing on stage. I can play a low note and feel my feet vibrating and I know that everyone out there is just feeling it, too! DC: Stamps is a whole experience. It’s not just songs, part of the experience is being live and dancing and partying and experiencing that kind of joy of life through music. [Indeed, there was an onstage dance competition right in the middle of the band’s set that afternoon.] That’s why we love being a full band. Maybe you could do all these elements with just a computer, but when you see it live, the experience of Stamps . . . it’s like, “We wanna kick your a**! We want to rock! We want to party!” and you can’t do that with a space bar and an attitude. But we can do it with our instruments, that’s for sure! [By this point, the MC had started the show and it was time for Stamps to take the stage. As they were leaving, I made one last comment.]
SM: This whole High School Nation thing, it’s pretty cool. So many schools are just completely cutting programs and it’s great for the students to see what can happen when the arts remain in their lives. DC: Arts and music in high school had such a huge impact on who I was and who Ren was and the person I know Adam to be. I went to high school with Adam, that’s how we first met. The music program was such a big part of our lives, and to think about it getting taken away from people before they even know what it can do for them?! This tour really serves sort of the bigger mission for this band. We want to get out there and have people hear our music, but at the real core of who Ren is and the writing that we do and everything, we want kids to discover themselves, we want them to have fun, we want them to enjoy life. Music is the way that we do it, so we figure maybe it will work for them, too. AJ: It’s a pleasure to meet you (shaking hands). We also just got a BMI indie spotlight, check it out when you get a chance! [Two minutes later, Stamps started rockin’! And what an experience it was. If this vibrant band visits your town, be sure to catch them live. Until then, you can stay in touch via:]
Website: www.stampstheband.com Facebook: www.facebook.com/stampstheband Twitter: www.twitter.com/Stampstheband
Samantha J Say hello to the next superstar. Samantha J is a teenage Jamaican singer/songwriter who rocketed into the public eye via her hit song “Tight Skirt.” The young Pop/Dancehall/Reggae artist was discovered by The Si Mi Yah Agency during a model and talent casting in Ocho Rios. Samantha J has a devastating combination of confidence and talent. At the end of 2013, she teamed up with Andrea Russett for the “Tight Skirt and Flawd™ Clothing Tour.” The pair hit key cities in the US, gathering hundreds and, at times, thousands of fans at each stop. Her vibrant video was filmed in Kingston, Jamaica and is a dazzling depiction of the culture and style of her homeland. If there were only room for one international superstar in 2014, Samantha J would be the best bet! www.samanthajlive.com
iRing There is an instrument called the theremin. It looks more like an oddly constructed, old-fashioned antenna radio than it does a musical instrument. With the theremin, a performer orchestrates changes in pitch and volume simply by waving his hands and fingers through the instrumentâ€™s surrounding electromagnetic field. Think of the sound effect for a flying saucer in those old black and white, sci-fi films and you get the idea of what one sounds like out of the box. A theremin master, however, can take that ghostly electric slide whistle sound and perform beautiful arias. Coming soon (at the time of this article, at least) is the iRing. Imagine theremin technique, but for an iPhone, iPad or an iPod touch. The performer can use one or two specially designed rings and his deviceâ€™s front-facing camera to control up to six parameters at a time, quite literally, with the wave of a hand â€” or two!
According to the IK Multimedia website: “iRing uses patented advanced image-recognition, motion control, and precise geometric positioning technology to give you control of assignable parameters within your apps. It uses the frontfacing camera on your device to determine the exact position of the wearable rings, and recognizes and tracks the movement of the linear or triangular patterned iRing rings allowing you to control up to six parameters at a time.” As far as practical application, the company provides the following example: “GrooveMaker 2 and VocaLive allow you to control parameters in real time by utilizing an XY grid and dragging your finger across the screen. For an effect like a Delay, when you slide your finger across the grid on the touchscreen, you change the Delay Time and the amount of repeats (feedback) of the effect.” “With iRing, you actually get a 3 dimensional grid — an X,Y and Z grid — that allows you to move across the screen to control delay time and feedback (the X and Y grid), but it also gives you a third parameter to control by moving the iRing closer to or farther from the device. This Z movement allows you to control the amount of delay applied to the signal, so you can control up to 3 parameters at a time with just one iRing. And iRing comes with 2 rings, one for each hand, so you can control up to six parameters (3 per effect) with your hands.” At this time, the iRing is only available for pre-order, and it’s currently priced to fit comfortably into anyone’s budget! If you’d like to see a video on how this device works (or pre-order it), you can do that, here.
Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks to Depart Allman Brothers Band at End of ‘14 Statement from Warren Haynes:
I joined the Allman Brothers Band in 1989, at age 28, for a reunion tour with no promise or expectations of it going any further. Based on the success of the tour and the uncanny chemistry between the original members and the new members, we decided to continue and see where it all led. Now, here we are, 25 years later, and it has been an amazing experience. I've always said that if I were to join a band that I grew up listening to, the ABB would be at the top of that list. The original version of the band was a huge influence on me and I'm sure that the countless hours I spent listening to and studying that music helped shape me as a musician. As proud as I am of being a member of such a legendary band, I'm even more proud of the music that we've made together and of being a part of carrying their original vision into the future.
As someone who’s been fortunate enough to juggle a lot of musical projects and opportunities, I look forward to maintaining a vigorous schedule that will include many more years of touring and recording with Gov’t Mule in addition to my solo projects and to enjoying more family time, as well. Being part of the ABB has opened a lot of doors for me and that’s something I don’t take for granted nor do I take for granted the friendship and musical relationships I have with each of the members. The 45th Anniversary of the ABB is a milestone amidst too many highlights to count and I’m looking forward to an amazing year creating music that only the Allman Brothers Band can create.
I got the call to join the Allman Brothers while on tour with my own band at the age of 19. It was out of the blue and felt surreal. I leapt at the chance. This was the music that I had cut my teeth on and it was the distinctive sound of Duane’s guitar that inspired me to pick up the instrument in the first place.
Statement from Derek Trucks:
When I started with Derek Trucks & Susan Tedeschi ABB, I didn’t know how long it would last, only that I would let the music lead me and teach me. Amazingly, that led me past the band’s 40th anniversary, to the band’s 45th, and now my 15th year as a member of this incredible band. Five years ago the 45th seemed like a lofty goal, but I thought if we could make it to that milestone, it would be a logical time to move on. While I’ve shared many magical moments on stage with the Allman Brothers Band in the last decade plus, I feel that my solo project and the Tedeschi Trucks Band is where my future and creative energy lies. The Tedeschi Trucks Band tour schedule keeps growing, and I feel the time has finally come to focus on a single project, which will allow me to spend that rare time off the road with my family and children. It’s a difficult decision to make, and I don’t make it lightly. I’m proud to have made a small contribution to the masterful music they have created over the past forty years, and will continue to create. Now seems like a good time to go out on a high note with a great 45th anniversary in 2014, and the mutual respect and friendship of the other 6 members of ABB.
Valleri The following story is “song fiction,” a fabricated account of how a popular song might have been inspired. This tale presents the life events that could have led up to the writing of the song “Valleri” created by the ace songwriting team of Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart. “Valleri” was on The Monkees’ The Birds, The Bees, & The Monkees album and it was also released as a single on Colgems back in 1968. Valleri was the first friend I made when my parents moved into this neighborhood. That was way back when I was in the second grade, a whole decade ago! Her house was right next to ours and it didn’t take long for her to become my best friend, as well. At almost 8 years old, with her cropped blonde hair, Phillies cap, ragged jeans, and those smudges of dirt that she never seemed able to completely clear from her cheeks or the tip of her nose, Valleri made a better boy than most of the guys I knew. She could noogie like an older brother and spit like a ball player. And, nothing grossed her out. Nothing! She laughed at all of our off-color jokes about explosive bodily functions and she delighted in shoving her bare hands deep into the cool, slimy mud at the edge of the pond. Valleri honestly seemed to enjoy all of the wonderfully disgusting activities that brightened little boys’ eyes with a mischievous twinkle! About the only time Valleri fell short of being a real boy was when we had a peeing contest. Literally. The guys would line up along one edge of the creek and see if they could muscle their stream all the way across to the opposite bank. The challenge always involved an excessive amount of grunting coupled with a pathetic sounding volley of exaggerated moans and groans. Each time, Valleri faithfully fell in line and proceeded to arch her back and howl like a cartoon coyote. But no matter how fervently she howled, it just wasn’t happening, Valleri simply wasn’t physically
equipped to partake in the competition. Not that such a minor detail had ever dissuaded her from trying. However, if standing up to pee was the determining factor that separated the boys from the girls, I wouldn’t have made the cut either. For as far back as I could remember, I had been confined to a wheelchair. Like Valleri, the simple act of standing up to pee was something that life had decided to deny me. And, as strange as it sounds, at times, I was happy about that inability because it was something that we shared. *** Looking back, in much the same way that I never saw Valleri as a girl, she never saw me as crippled or handicapped. When we played tag, the guys would go easy on me. But not Valleri. If I was “it,” then she would run her hardest to get away from me. And, if I couldn’t catch her, she’d taunt, “Whatsamatta, Wheels, gotta flat?” Then she’d giggle. Yeah, I know, boys didn’t giggle. They could laugh endlessly, but it was that macho rumble, deep and resonant — at least as deep and resonant as prepubescent boys could muster. A male laugh was more of a “ha, ha, ha!” than a “hee, hee, hee.” And, it was definitely not a “tee hee.” Boys stood up to pee and they did not giggle. Yep, the facts were there, but like I said, I didn’t register them. She was simply a friend, my best friend. And, that’s what made tonight so hard. Tonight was the senior prom. All my life I’d thought of Valleri as just another one of the guys, but tonight, she was something else, something more. Tonight, she was a girl blossoming into a young woman and I wanted to be anything but what I truly was, a young man confined to his wheel chair. Our windows faced each other, and throughout our entire childhood, neither of us had ever drawn our curtains closed — something that never seemed awkward or uncomfortable . . . until now. I watched her getting ready for her night, as amazed as I was transfixed. There was no Phillies cap, tonight. She was brushing her hair,
hair that was neither cropped nor dirtied, it was long, blonde and silky. Instead of smudges on her cheeks and nose, she wore blusher and powder. And, in lieu of her ragged jeans, she wore an elegant spaghetti strap pastel blue dress. She was the same little girl, but she looked very different than the way she looked before. I watched her as she finished primping. My heart raced and I glanced away from the window when she tried to catch my eye. I was embarrassed. She was perfect and I was flawed. I finally gathered the courage to look back. She smiled, winked, and waved goodbye, then scurried out the door to go to her prom. She’d probably even end up as the prom queen. My heart sank with the realization that she deserved more than I had to offer. *** I wheeled over to my mirror. I must admit, I looked rather dapper. I adjusted my tie, sat high in my chair and actually grinned at my reflection. He grinned back. My mom called up to me, startling my reflection. “It’s time. Are you ready? Your date is here,” she giggled — mom was still a girl at heart. Was I ready? My whole life had been rolling towards this one moment. I wheeled out of my room to the edge of the stairs and looked down to the foyer. There she was, so beautiful in that pastel blue dress. She looked up at me and her smile widened, her eyes sparkled, and I felt her glow radiating all the way up here. I’d known her all her life and looking at her, now, I knew that she was happy to be here, she was happy to be here with me. Tonight, we were no longer kids. Tonight, I realized that she was more than my best friend. Tonight, I realized that I loved her. And, I do believe, she loved me, too. Do you have an idea for a story? Would you like to contribute a little piece of song fiction of your own? It’s easy, just take a song and move backwards, create the story or situation that COULD have brought that song to life. It’s fun, and it might give you a little insight on how inspiration works, a sort of reverse engineering of a lyric, if you will. Wanna give it a shot? Then simply send your song fiction to email@example.com.
Shelly Peiken: Self Infringement
I was at a session with two other writers and we stumbled on what we thought was an irresistible hook and we were excited. We started investing in it, aka coming up with words to go with the melody. But as we got more and more invested I started feeling like there was something familiar about it, but I couldn't quite put my finger on what it was. Sometimes when something is so familiar, it's because, well, it’s just so catchy . . . so relatable. This is what you hope for. On the other hand, it COULD be familiar because it already exists . . . as in . . . someone else wrote it before you . . . Like Stevie Nicks or Bruno Mars. Uh oH. But that’s not a sin. We are all influenced by everything we’ve ever heard. If we catch ourselves before we mix the demo, we can usually fix it with a tweak of a line or two. BUT!! There’s a third possibility . . . which is: perhaps we ripped it from ourselves. This is bad. That’s what I realized had happened. And the moment I realized it, I was aghast. Our hook was the same as the one from a song I had written with David Gamson a few weeks before. I felt like I had a big secret. How was I to tell this to my co-writers
who were already casting our song with Beyonce. I managed to confess and then I begged forgiveness . . . “I’m sorry . . . I guess it was floating around in the recesses of my brain. I’m so, so sorry . . .” We moved on. Only to find that the next idea was from a bridge of a song I had written with Matt Schwartz. Aargggghh. Fire me now. I am a dork. I am SO, SO, SO Sorry. Find me a muzzle. Have I been working too much? Caught in the web of every song I’ve written in the past 6 months? Sometimes I’m in the middle of writing so many songs that when I wake up in the morning I'm singing a verse from one with a chorus from another. Mix and Match. I think I need a time out. Or at least a spa day. :) www.facebook.com/serialsongwriter en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shelly_Peiken Shelly Peiken is a multi-platinum Grammy nominated songwriter who is best known for her #1 hits "What a Girl Wants" and "Come On Over Baby (All I Want Is You)." Shelly and Meredith Brooks earned a Grammy nomination for Brooks's hit song "Bitch." She has had hundreds of songs placed on albums, TV and in film. Shelly plays piano and guitar and is an accomplished lyricist. She is a New Yorker at heart who enjoys her life in Los Angeles.
Girls Volume 2: All Adventurous Women Do . . . Atlantic Records has announced the release of Girls Volume 2: All Adventurous Women Do . . . Music From the HBO® Original Series, the musical companion to the acclaimed comedy series. The album arrives digitally on February 11th. All pre-orders will receive an instant download of Jenny Lewis’ “Completely Not Me,” heard during HBO’s two-part season premiere of the hugely anticipated third season of Girls.
Laura Stincer: “Vortex of Glory”
Laura Stincer was born in Havana Cuba and she discovered the flute at age ten. From the moment she was able to get sounds out of it, the instrument became an extension of her body. “The sound that comes from my flute is as if it were my second set of vocal cords. Like we all find the vibrations of our vocal cords warm and pleasant, I get to say that twice as much,” Stincer explained. While in Cuba, she studied with Alberto Corrales. After her studies were complete, she moved to Miami, Florida for a little while but eventually wound up in Los Angeles, California. Laura’s recordings display both an impressive technical wizardry and a soul-rousing passion. On her latest track, “Vortex of Glory,” Stincer’s flute goes toe-to-toe with a scorching electric guitar and easily holds its own during the spirited conversation.
“All the music I record is written by my dad, Ramon Huerta,” the artist informed. “Everything he writes for me is custom made according to my style and my musical taste. He always consults with me when he is writing a new piece. He can create so many wonderful melodies and arrangements that it’s very hard to say that you don’t like something he writes.” Although “Vortex of Glory” starts with a calm, an aggressive string figure is quickly introduced and the song rapidly builds, swirling into a cyclone of turbulent beauty. The aforementioned conversation between flute and guitar ensues and is followed by a tranquil moment at the eye of the storm. The wall of raging guitars and heavy drums soon returns with an even greater ferocity to carry the song out with an exhilarating finale. “‘Vortex of Glory’ is the interpretation of reality observed under a lens of fantasy so that certain events are transformed into music while narrating a story full of emotions and spirituality,” Stincer revealed. “Just as in real life, there are moments of action, reflection, peace, joy, etc. that become part of our daily walk, these moments do not go unnoticed and, in this case, they motivate inspiration.” In order to prepare herself emotionally to perform this track, Laura said she had to focus on projecting the right kind of feeling with the appropriate intensity. “Depending on the type of feeling in the melody, I transport myself into a moment in my life where I've experienced that kind of emotion and I try to focus on displaying those emotions in every note.” “The musicians who collaborated on this track beside my father and I were Lee Levin on drums and Julio Hernandez on bass. The mastering was done by Mike Couzzi.” “Vortex of Glory” is available as a single on iTunes and Amazon. For more information on Laura, visit: www.laurastincer.com www.facebook.com/laurastincer www.twitter.com/laurastincer
Kady & Pia It’s In The Genes Kady Z
I clicked the link, hit play and started listening to a stream of a new release that had just arrived in my inbox. Let’s be honest, you can pretty much tell within a few seconds if you like an artist or not. Kady Z wasn’t belting, she wasn’t mimicking, and she wasn’t saturated in effects, she was just singing, sweet and pure. There was a refreshing, natural honesty to her voice that immediately resonated with me. I ended up putting her album, Ordinary Girl, on repeat for the rest of the day while I attended to some much needed home repairs. I’m fairly certain I played it loud enough for the neighbors to enjoy, as well.
The next day, I read her bio — I like to let the music sink in before reading. There was a brief mention of Kady performing with her mom when she was just three years old. I almost glossed over the fact that her mom was none other than Pia Zadora! Pia Zadora was a pretty big name in my household when I was growing up. I mean, she toured with Sinatra! I knew I wanted to talk to Kady . . . but was there any possibility of getting some perspective from her celebrity mom, as well? I reached out and to my delight, I was offered a conference call with both Kady and Pia! Wow! I can’t lie, I had butterflies darting about my stomach for the entire week leading up to the interviews. *** On the day of the interviews, I wanted to make sure no one was waiting on me, so I called about 5 minutes early and logged into the conversation. Less than 5 minutes later there was a “Ding!” and Kady joined the conversation.
Part 1: Greetings Songwriter’s Monthly: Kady? Kady Z: Hi, Allen. SM: This conference call thing is interesting, I wasn’t sure I’d logged in correctly. Kady: I know, my mom was like, how do I do this? I was like, “Mom, it’s very simple.” We’ll see if she makes it. SM: When I got the press release, I thought it would be so cool to talk to you and your mom, but I had no clue it would be at the same time. How am I supposed to ask you any personal questions while your mom is listening? Kady: She’s fine, she loves it. You can ask her personal questions, too! Make her uncomfortable! SM: I just don’t want to ask about a song and have you say, “Well, that was kind of about my mom,” and there she is, right there on the line.
Kady: Sheâ€™s used to it (laughing). (Ding!) Pia Zadora: Allen? SM: Hi, Pia! Kady: Hi, mom! Pia: Hi, Kady. How are you? SM: We were just discussing how interesting this is. I had no clue it was going to be a conference call. Pia: Would you like to speak to Kady and then speak to me separately?
SM: No, no, no, this is fine. This should be fun. I was just thinking I can’t ask either of you anything too personal. Pia: You can always call me back after you’ve asked her some personal questions that you don’t want me to hear. SM: We’ll be fine. Pia: As long as you don’t ask us our ages (laughing).
Part 2: Eternally Young
SM: Speaking of age, both of you look eternally young. There’s a flawlessness to your skin. I’m not sure if it’s in your genes or in a bottle, but since it’s both of you, I’m thinking it’s something in your genes. Kady: It’s definitely in your genes mom, that’s for sure. Pia: Well, I do have a genetic disorder called Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. It’s kind of this soft textured skin that doesn’t wrinkle. Sometimes there can be issues with it, but luckily I don’t have a full-blown version of it.
SM: For a minute I thought you were leading me on, but there’s a genetic reason you both look so great? Pia: I didn’t find out that I had the disorder until I had my third kid. My whole life I never knew, I thought I just was using the right night cream (laughing), but it was more than that.
Part 3: The Captain and Tennille SM: I apologize, I’m still a little giddy that I have you both on the line at the same time. When I interviewed The Captain and Tennille, they were both on the line at the same time, too, and The Captain kept answering for Tennille and Tennille kept answering for The Captain, it was a lot of fun. Pia: Ooh, which one am I? Kady, which are you? Kady: I’ll answer the questions for Pia. Pia: (laughing) Wait, who’s The Captain? That’s what I want to know. Kady: You’re The Captain, obviously. Pia: Is it age before beauty, or what? Kady: Hmm, that’s a good question.
Part 4: Kady’s Debut SM: Kady, when did you get bitten by the show biz bug? Kady: My mom actually brought me up on stage when I was three years old and since then I’ve always wanted to do it. Pia: I was touring with Sinatra and Kady would come on stage and sing “The Little Mermaid” when she was two-and-a-half or three. She knew every lyric — she couldn’t even read at the time — and she had perfect pitch! She was such a little prodigy that Frank’s conductor, Vinnie [Vincent Falcone Jr.], made a chart for her and
she began appearing with symphonies all around the country, singing the theme from “The Little Mermaid.” After that, I couldn’t get her off the stage. She got bitten, you know? SM: That’s very cool. A lot of the time the children will rebel and won’t want to do what the parents have done. Kady: Well, when I was older, she did say, “Don’t do this!” and that’s when I really wanted to do it! Pia: Oh my, you are so funny! . . . Wait, is that true?! Kady: Yeah! Pia: Really, was I that smart? Kady: You’re actually a genius, mom, and you don’t even know it . . . or maybe you do? Pia: Wow, I love you! SM: You guys are so sweet!
Part 5: Who’s Who? SM: There’s a vocal quality that you both have, I’m not sure if it’s hereditary or training, but both of you have such crisp, clear, beautiful singing voices. Pia: Thank you. Well, we do cross-contaminate with our vocal coaches, right Kady? Kady: Yes, we do. Well, that was when I was younger, you had your people and then I branched out with some of my own. Pia: Yeah, then I branched into your people because all of my people died! Kady: Exactly.
Pia: Because I’m eternally young and they are not (laughing). Kady: Exactly. Pia: Sometimes people do mistake our speaking voices, but I think that part is genetics. Kady, you’ve held a conversation with somebody for 5 minutes and they were thinking that you were me the whole time, right? Kady: It was with Michael [Jeffries], actually. My stepdad. I’d called or he had called, I don’t remember which, but I talked to him for about ten minutes before he realized that it wasn’t Pia, it was me. Pia: And he’s a freakin’ detective! Kady: Yeah, but I was doing it just to be annoying. I used to do that a lot, actually, it was kind of fun. Pia: Hmmm. SM: So were there things you found out that you weren’t supposed to know? Kady: No, I didn’t want to get into that. I didn’t want to go there. SM: Really? Kady: Yeah. Pia: But, did you go there . . . even though you “didn’t want to?” Kady: No!
Part 6: Opera Kady: Mom, you have a great opera voice! Pia: Well, I studied opera and I come from a family of opera singers.
Kady: I know, I studied opera, too. Pia: I know. When you auditioned for CalArts, you did all those little operatic pieces and they were so beautiful and pristine. It’s not our passion, but opera’s good, it keeps the voice in shape. Kady: Opera builds the chops. Pia: Exactly.
Part 7: “The Nanny Blues” SM: Kady, all of the songs on Ordinary Girl were co-written by you? Kady: Yes. SM: How many other co-writers were there? Kady: It was just me and Tone Def doing the writing. He produced it, too. SM: Where do you pull your inspiration from? The album seems divided in parts . . . there’s a part where you’re the dumper, there’s a part where you’re the dumpee, and there’s a part— Kady: It all comes from many different experiences and it’s meant to tell a story— Pia: Wait a second, you were never the “dumpee!” Kady: Well—
Pia: Unless there’s something you didn’t tell me? Kady: No, but it’s just— Pia: I love that: the dumper and the dumpee. Let me just put my two cents in. When Kady was really little, like 2, 3, or 4 years old, she used to write songs and they were so cute! I still have them on tape. There was no music in the background or anything, and she would just write about things like . . . like if her nanny left. Kady, do remember when Christine left, you were only about 5? Kady: Yes (dejected). Pia: And you wrote “The Nanny Blues!” Then, you did a takeoff on “The Man that Got Away” that I was singing at the time, only yours was called “The Nanny that Got Away.” Kady: Yeah (stoic). Pia: And you were crooning! You put your own melody and words to it! Kady: Yes, mom (defeated). Pia: I used to meditate a lot, I still try to, and Kady used to make me meditation tapes. She’d put her own little lyrics in to relax me. So, she’s always written songs, even back when she was really little. Kady: True.
Part 8: Kady’s Lyrics SM: What I find interesting about songwriters in general, usually when a writer writes about something close to her, it’s more ambiguous, and then when she is making stuff up, there are more details. On Ordinary Girl, you had a part in writing all the songs, but there are both kinds of songs. There are songs when you sing about such specifics as Nick Lachey and jelly beans, but there are other songs that are completely vague. Are all the songs the same level of closeness to you or are there some that are pure fiction?
Kady: It’s hard to pinpoint things when you are songwriting, especially when you are co-writing because you bring something in and then it develops into something else. That song [“Fools in Love”] was definitely specific, but it was kind of a whimsical song rather than a deep, deep thing. I think the deeper it gets, the vaguer it should get unless you want people to start jumping off bridges because it gets so depressing (laughing). Pia: You are very funny. There are certain things that are very sensitive and delicate and those songs have to be vague because they are maybe too painful. Kady: Exactly. SM: A lot of artists have said writing, performing, creating, etc. takes the place of therapy. Kady: Songwriting is therapy. You can’t go and see a therapist every time you have a problem, you have to get to a point where you have the problem solving ability, you have the perspective, and you deal with the stuff on your own. You write it down and turn it into your own form of art. SM: I’m impressed with the lyrics and the rhymes in your songs. I love it when a rhyme catches me off guard. In one song, you rhymed “static” with— Kady: Oh, in “Drown You Out,” I sing, “I can’t hear you over all the static.” SM: Yes, and you rhymed it with “problematic.” I loved that! Kady: Yeah, yeah, we’re really proud of how that one came out. And we’re proud of the lyrics in “Game Over,” too. SM: That was another one of my favorites! There were so many clever gaming references! Kady: Well, you know, I grew up with Nintendo (laughing)! Pia: Kady has always had a pension for being clever with her words, that’s who she is.
Kady: Thanks, mom. Pia: I wonder where you get that from? Kady: I wonder.
Part 9: Co-Writing SM: Have the two of you ever tried to co-write together? Kady: No, definitely not. Pia: We just co-shop. Leave the writing to Kady and Tone. Kady: Yes. SM: So that would never ever happen? Kady: I would probably say. “No!” Pia: Me, too (laughing).
Part 10: Parallels SM: Looking at your lives, do you see a parallel? Pia, when you look at Kady’s life, so far, do you see any parallels to where your life was at that point? Pia: I do and I don’t. Kady’s personal life is much freer and cleaner than mine was. It was a little difficult and so I branched out into certain areas that I probably shouldn’t have . . . like movies (laughing). But then I got back to my music. I had that song with Jermaine Jackson, “When The Rain Starts to Fall,” and then I got the Grammy nomination and started touring with Sinatra. I got back to my musical roots, but I think Kady has maintained her dignity in the sense that she hasn’t sold herself out, she’s keeping to her true self. She does have the same passion for music that I did and she started when she was young like I did. We’re similar in a lot of ways, but different in a lot of ways, as well.
SM: In your defense, Pia, at the time did you even think you were selling yourself out or did you just think it was a good opportunity, something you should take advantage of? Pia: Exactly, exactly. I know now, though. And you can’t change it, it made me who I am. I did get back to my true course, where I belonged, and I’m still there, now. I have a room in Vegas called Pia’s Place and I’m doing the standards, the songs that I sang with Sinatra. I’m back where I belong. I had a 15 year hiatus because I had a third child and he was on the spectrum, so I had to stop working and devote myself to helping him, but now I’m back. You know, you get back on course, that’s what life is, it’s hills and valleys, it deviates and comes back, there are dumpers and dumpees (laughing). I love that, it’s so cool, dumpers and dumpees. SM: I started interviewing in the 90’s, but in the 2000’s, I walked away from it. Now that I’m back, I feel like the time away has somehow (hopefully) made me better. Do you think time off is essential for an artist?
Pia: Oh, absolutely, because you develop other parts of your life and you learn through your experiences. When I was Kady’s age, I really didn’t have much life experience except for being on stage. She is much more emotionally mature than I was at that time. That’s why she writes so well, because she’s had the experiences that come into her music.
Part 11: Title Track SM: One of the things I really like about the album is the title track, “Ordinary Girl.” Kady: Oh, yeah? SM: I really like that song, it’s one of my favorites. Usually, the last song isn’t the spot for one of the strongest songs on the album . . . but then again, your whole album is strong. Kady: Thank you. Everyone says I’m different because I grew up in this kind of environment with this crazy mother who is different from everyone else’s mother— Pia: Excuse me? Kady: (laughing) Pia: I’ll be hanging up now. Kady: Uhm, actually— Pia: I am the dumpee. Kady: (laughing) Pia: Officially, I am the dumpee. Kady: I am the dumper. But, I’m also the dumpee. I’m not feeling like I’m pretty enough . . . or whatever enough, and that’s just the normal thing for every girl, so that’s why it’s called “Ordinary Girl.” And having it as the last song was a no-brainer
because, it’s seals it up, it wraps up the album. It’s one of my favorites and it’s actually Pia’s favorite song on the album. Pia: I love it! SM: Me, too!
Part 12: Wild Side Kady: When I was a kid, I remember being in the pool at my friend’s house and my mother came over and I did not want to get out of the pool and— Pia: Oh no, here we go. Kady: And she was standing outside of the pool and I was like “No, I’m not coming out!” Pia got so mad that she jumped in the pool with all of her clothes on and— Pia: I’m seeing it now, there’s a water connection, that’s how I got arrested for that freakin’ hose incident (laughing)! My impulse control, my impulse control! [Note: Back in the fall of ‘13, Pia got into a little trouble for squirting her teenage son with a hose and was ordered into “Impulse Control” counseling.] Kady: Well, anyway (laughing), you were out of control. Pia: I did have my wild side . . . I still do as the tabloids show (laughing). Kady: I guess so. Pia: I forgot about that. That was Heather, right? Kady: Oh yeah, it was. Pia: Well, I was about to have a massage, so I figured screw the hair! And, I was about to take off my clothes anyway, so I went for it (laughing)! Kady: It was great (laughing).
Pia: Her mother’s mouth dropped, it was like— Kady: Heather’s mother was a psychiatrist, that made it even better, you couldn’t have done it at a better time, mom (laughing). Pia: I know (laughing). SM: So is there any residual childhood trauma now? Kady: Oh no, I love water, no trauma (laughing).
Part 13: Wrap Up SM: I just looked at the clock, the time has flown! I try not to keep people too long, is there anything you want to talk about that we haven’t covered? Kady: Well, we have the second single from the album, “Crush Gone Wrong,” which is coming out on radio soon and the music video is pretty cool, it’s animated and it’s very silly. It’s a song about me being a stalker. Pia: Wow, what the— Were you a stalker?! Kady: I can’t really tell you these things, mom, but now that you know, the cat’s out of the bag. SM: My favorite line in that song is “I think you’ll be happy, the video I made for you, I put it on YouTube.” That was hysterical! Kady: Oh, yes! It is the YouTube age (laughing). SM: I have to admit, though, when I first heard it, I was concerned, I thought you might be using the song for therapy or— Kady: Oh no, no, no! Obviously, I don’t have a restraining order against me or a tattoo on my arm. Pia: Well, you could always borrow mine.
Kady: You’re funny, mom. SM: Pia, is there anything you’d like to touch upon? Pia: Just that I am really proud of Kady and I couldn’t be happier and all that good stuff. Kady: Thanks, mom! Pia: Mmmhmm. SM: I really want to thank both of you for this. Kady: Thank you, Allen. Pia: Thank you, Allen. Take care, we’ll see you soon. Take care, Kady, I’ll see you later. Kady: Okay. Pia: That’s a threat, not a promise. Bye. Kady: Bye.
For more information on Kady, visit: www.kadyzmusic.com For more information on Pia, visit: www.piazadora.com
Hans Zimmer Wants You!! (Los Angeles, CA) January 2014: The Bleeding Fingers Custom Music Shop — a joint venture between Extreme Music, the production music arm of Sony/ATV Music Publishing, and Academy Award® winner Hans Zimmer’s company Remote Control Productions — has launched the Hans Zimmer Wants You!! contest powered by SoundCloud: a talent quest designed to uncover the next Bleeding Fingers composer offering the SoundCloud community the opportunity of a lifetime.
The winning composer(s) will have the chance to work side-by-side with an extraordinary stable of top Hollywood talent and to make their mark doing what they love at the highest level Hans Zimmer: possible. The winner will receive the Academy Award winning composer opportunity for full-time employment, including a full benefits package, plus they will be provided with their own fully equipped studio in Bleeding Fingers brand new state of the art facility which they can use for the duration of their employment. The contest begins January 22nd and ends February 19th. The lucky finalists will be announced on or before March 20th. Oscar-winning composer Hans Zimmer has created an original piece exclusively for this contest that participants will use as a leaping off point to create their own compositions based on or inspired by the same melody. Submission length is 90-120 seconds. Full submission details can be found at www.hanszimmerwantsyou.com. “This competition promises to be an exciting journey. There is a universe of outstanding talent out there and I am looking forward to hearing what the exciting
Zimmer’s reputation for discovering and nurturing new talent has earned his Santa Monica campus the reputation of being the “Stanford of Score.” Renowned as a hothouse for the musically gifted, its alumni boast a torrent of success stories including Lorne Balfe, James S. Levine, Harry GregsonWilliams, John Powell, Steve Jablonsky, Ramin Djawadi, Henry Jackman, Junkie XL, Geoff Zannelli, plus countless others.
SoundCloud community comes up with. To all who enter, remember there are no boundaries. Be bold! Be brave!,” encouraged Hans Zimmer.
The panel of judges for the Hans Zimmer Wants You!! contest are listed below; Zimmer will be the final judge: Hans Zimmer, Academy Award winning Russell Emanuel: CEO, composer - 12 Years a Slave, Man of Bleeding Fingers/Extreme Music Steel, The Dark Knight Rises Lorne Balfe, Composer - Inception, Iron Man, Sherlock Holmes, The Dark Knight Junkie XL, Composer - Man of Steel, The Dark Knight Rises, 300: Rise of an Empire Jacob Shea, Sr. Composer, Bleeding Fingers - Gears of War, Transformers 3, Through The Wormhole, Survivor Russell Emanuel, CEO, Bleeding Fingers/Extreme Music Steve Kofsky, Chairman, Bleeding Fingers
For more information on Hans Zimmer Wants You!! go to: www.hanszimmerwantsyou.com For more information on Bleeding Fingers, go to: www.bleedingfingersmusic.com For more information on SoundCloud, go to: www.soundcloud.com
The Sixties The Sixties is a Philadelphia-based band poised to release its debut full-length album, There It Isn’t, in late winter/early spring 2014. The band cites The Whigs, Queens Of The Stone Age, Bloc Party, Minus The Bear, Arctic Monkeys, We Are Scientists, and Manchester Orchestra as just a few of the many influences that shaped the refined sound of this accomplished quartet. The musical arsenal of this impressive ensemble is comprised L-R: C.J. Morgan-Lead Vocals & Guitar, Jeff Gill-Bass of tracks that span the gamut from & Vocals, Chris Mehr-Drums & Percussion, Chris rock-tinged pop-punk to all out Wagner-Lead Guitar & Vocals ragers. The punchy “Jean Jacket” and the searing “Forgetting Yesterday” are excellent examples of just how hard this band can drive while maintaining absolute control. The striking polish of this album doesn’t dull the band’s grit, it hones it to a dangerously sharp edge. Lead vocalist C.J Morgan has a rich, powerful voice that contains the fierce intensity needed to propel a sold-out stadium of screaming fans to their feet to demand an encore. He can also reign it in to deliver a devastatingly smooth tone that allows the band to weave chillingly beautiful harmonies. Distilling the finest elements from choice bands into a remarkably pure and original sound, The Sixties’ “There It Isn’t” will nudge these artists into the global spotlight they so richly deserve. For more information, check out: www.facebook.com/TheSixtiesPA
David Sancious Starting 2014 Off Right!
You’d think it would be enough of an introduction to say that as an original member of the E Street Band, David Sancious is scheduled to receive an Award for Musical Excellence at the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony in April of this year. But that’s not the case. Not even close. Before being honored with an award, David will travel the U.S. and Canada with Sting and Paul Simon for the pair’s “On Stage Together” tour (starting February 8th). Then, he’ll join Peter Gabriel and head off to Europe for Peter’s “Back to Front” tour (starting March 6th). Only after that, will he head to New York City for the induction ceremony. If you haven’t figured it out just yet, let me spell it out for you, Sancious is one supremely talented guy! As impossible as it may sound, despite his packed schedule, this gifted artist found time to have a deep and serene conversation about challenges, mindsets, and just what makes music special. After a couple failed attempts due to wavering cell reception, we finally connected:
Songwriter’s Monthly: Sting, Paul Simon, Peter Gabriel . . . 2014 is really kicking off in a big way for you! David Sancious: Yeah, it’s a big year. SM: Do you find it hard to switch gears, playing with Sting then jumping into a tour with Peter Gabriel? DS: It’s a challenge to go back and forth between two different sets of music, but that is a challenge I like. What I’m finding is I have to make an extra effort to stay physically in shape because it’s a lot of travel, it’s a lot of airplane flying, and that takes it out of me a little more than it used to when I was younger. [David offered a warm chuckle making it feel like I was catching up with a good friend I had known my whole life.] But it’s all manageable. I use different instruments from one artist to the other and that’s kind of enjoyable. It’s a real challenge, but I’m able to do it. [David’s relaxed, thoughtful tone was calming. It was like listening to a peaceful melody. I got the odd mental impression that he was tasting his words as he spoke, savoring the uniqueness of this particular moment. He wasn’t fumbling for meaning, he was exploring ways of expressing it.] SM: Switching instruments, changes your mindset? DS: It does, it keeps it all very fresh. There’s no space for you to take anything for granted. When I play with Peter Gabriel, I use a specific instrument which is a completely different operating system and interface than the instrument I use when I play with Sting. And, of course, the music is completely different. It’s a lot to keep in your head, but it keeps it very, very fresh and exciting. I also find that I end up learning a lot from one gig to the other because they are so different from one another. It is absolutely not the same gig, physically or musically, so I find that by doing both of them, I end up learning things. SM: As a performer stepping into a new band situation, which is more important, being a chameleon or being yourself? DS: I think the most important thing is to not try to be anything. I don’t approach anybody’s situation with an agenda, I don’t walk in there saying, “Okay, I’m going to
be a chameleon,” or “I’m going to be this or that or whatever.” The most important thing is to be yourself.
When you are playing someone’s music, you really have to give all of yourself over to it. That’s what I do, anyway, because there’s so much enjoyment there. I don’t hold anything back. I don’t hold back a part of my consciousness or my attention or my energy, physically or emotionally, I’m 100% there. Then, you just resonate with that. You don’t really have to try, just be yourself, be a natural person. Every day is a different day, especially when you are touring — different venues, different audiences, different locations. You just come at it and try to do your best. Be yourself and remember to relax and enjoy it. [David didn’t speak with an edge, like a lawyer trying to sway the jury, his words were delivered with the even-toned confidence of wisdom.] SM: So, you approach each and every performance differently? DS: Absolutely, because again every night is a different night, even if you are playing in the same building. If you’re playing Royal Albert Hall two nights in a row or Madison Square Garden with the same artist, alright, it’s the same artist and the same music, but it’s a new day. It’s not Monday, it’s Tuesday and you bring the energy of Tuesday into it, you bring that energy of that day and that moment. The great thing about playing is you have a chance . . . [David paused like a new understanding had just been presented to him.] I think that’s why I like touring so much. I like session work a lot, I’ve done a lot of it and I really enjoy it and it can be a great time, but what I like about being in a band, being part of an ensemble is you
have a chance, every night, to reinterpret the music, to go deeper into it, and to discover things about the songs. But again, it’s not an effort, it’s not like, “Okay, tonight I’m going to discover something about this song!” If you just remain open to it, it will tell you things. You play the same set list in the same order, but if you’re open to it, you have the chance to experience it all in a fresh way and bring something new to every performance.
*** “That’s the basic beauty of the musical experience, it really is, it’s special, there’s nothing else quite like it, not literature, not cinema even, not anything, it’s very special that way.” *** SM: I must say, that is so refreshing to hear. I once interviewed a classic rock guitarist who was re-recording some of his originals from back in the day and I asked him if he was going to change anything on this new recording based on the lifetime of live performances he had experienced. His response was basically, “Why should I?” His position was that he had already written the parts, he had already discovered what was the best version of the song, so why mess with it? DS: Was this recent? SM: Relatively, it was just a few years ago. DS: Well, yeah, yeah, yeah . . . You see, there you go, it all boils down to the mindset you bring to it. People are people, we’re essentially identical, but we’re also very different in the details. That is a very telling thing to say, “Why should I?” Well, “Why shouldn’t you?” But each to his own. If I don’t like spinach, I shouldn’t be obliged to explain why I don’t like spinach, I just don’t like spinach and that’s how I’m wired. For me, his answer is strange because I’m wired the other way. But I could justify his response, I guess, if that’s really where you are. If you’re so satisfied with the version of the song that you got together and created then fair enough. If you don’t want to go deeper into it and try and look at it through a
different lens . . . Everyone’s opinion, to a certain degree, is valid enough . . . relatively speaking (laughing, warmly). But I go completely the other way. I think the fun of the whole experience is the opportunity to explore. But not in a forced way, we’re not always going to try and reinvent the wheel because that doesn’t need doing. Say you and I had known each other for years and we were talking about politics . . . we’re having lunch and we’re talking about politics and you ask me, “What do you think about the presidential election?” And I give you an answer: “I feel good about it, I feel dah, dah, dah.” [Confession: The inner music geek in me couldn’t help but notice a sort of convergence in that moment: an upcoming Sting tour, talking politics, and David using the phrase “dah, dah, dah” in the conversation.] I would say whatever I say, and if we got together the very next day and ended up in the same conversation and you asked me the same question, I would have a fresh answer. It might be the same answer, but it would have new words. I would find some spontaneous way to express that same feeling. And that’s what it is, songs are like that. If it’s a sad song, you bring a sort of sad feeling to it, but Monday’s sadness can be different from Tuesday’s sadness. That’s the fun part about staying in the moment, it’s the same but it’s not the same, you can always be really fresh with it. A lot of times in Sting’s band, when we finish a show and we’re riding back to the hotel, we end up talking about the difference between a certain song from one night to the other. We may have really just pounced on a certain song and maybe it’s the same song we’ve been playing for the last three weeks, but for some reason, we really nailed it that particular night. That’s the basic beauty of the musical experience, it really is, it’s special, there’s nothing else quite like it, not literature, not cinema even, not anything, it’s very special that way.
SM: That’s not how people imagine rock stars behaving after a concert. Are you telling me that after a big show, you might just sit around and talk? DS: Sometimes, yeah. In a good way. We don’t beat ourselves up about it and we don’t belabor any mistakes or things that happened, but yeah. SM: What quality do these artists see in you that makes them want to call you for a gig?
*** “If I was really hard-pressed to talk about myself and say what do I like most about myself, I think I’m incredibly spontaneous and I really try and keep my attention in the present moment because that’s where all the real enjoyment is.” *** DS: I don’t think about myself that much to give you an honest answer (laughing). I don’t walk around thinking about what people might like about me. The funny thing is, after these people call you to work with them, after Bruce calls and Sting and Peter and Eric [Clapton] and Jeff [Beck], you end up actually getting to know them as people — it’s impossible to spend that much time around someone, working on projects and touring and traveling and being in studios and not get to know them as a person. Eventually, they will just tell you something. I think there’s a certain degree of spontaneity that I bring. If I was really hard-pressed to talk about myself and say what do I like most about myself, I think I’m incredibly spontaneous and I really try and keep my attention in the present moment because that’s where all the real enjoyment is. So yeah, I think spontaneity and whatever my skills musically are, that would be it. SM: I believe a lot of musicians get stuck in the wrong band. Maybe they were meant for something else, but they stay with their buddies for too long. How do you know when to move on and when to stay?
DS: That’s a good question. How do you know if it’s time for you to move on or if it’s time for you to stay put? Intuition. There’s no playbook for that, you just have to listen to yourself and trust your own instincts about where to be, where not to be, when to go, and when to stay. That’s your own kind of cosmic call, there’s nobody who can roll up on you and tell you exactly what to do. SM: Isn’t it hard to leave if you’ve developed friendships? DS: Sure, sure. It was like that for me when I left Bruce’s band because there were no problems. There was no animosity, nobody was angry at anybody. I met with him privately to announce that I had this offer from CBS, I had a record contract. I’d always been writing music and he knew that. To this day, we are all good friends. A lot of bands break up over bad vibes or artistic differences, but in my case, leaving the E Street Band didn’t have anything to do with that, I just had this incredible opportunity and I felt I’d better take advantage of it. And, Bruce was largely responsible for inspiring me to take a chance and record my music and see what could happen with it. Bruce is a fantastic example of what a real artist is and what it means to be committed to your work and to your ideas.
*** “The real question is where are you? How open are you to the experience? Are you distracted by what’s going on in your head, which is maybe clouding up the issue and making you a little less open and receptive to the creative energy? Creative energy is always present.” *** SM: That brings up the fact that you are also an accomplished writer. Do you approach composing with the same spontaneity that you do performing? DS: Absolutely. Absolutely, I do. When I compose, I come at it in a very spontaneous, very open kind of way. I just had an experience a couple of days ago
when I was working on some songs to finish an album that I’ve been working on in between tours for the last two or three years. I was writing a song on guitar and I basically had finished the song and I was scrolling through my keyboard looking for a certain kind of sound. I came across this one sound and everything about the sound was so evocative to me that it suddenly took me in a completely different direction. I ended up stopping the song that I was working on and writing a new song in about 3 minutes . . . actually it was 3 minutes and 33 seconds — I timed it on my machine. I wrote a completely different song. The song I had been working on was kind of rock, a guitar oriented song, but the song that came up was a ballad with a completely different texture and everything. That’s what I mean by being spontaneous, you leave yourself open to all of these other possibilities that are always there. The possibilities for creativity and inspiration are always there, they never go anywhere. The real question is where are you? How open are you to the experience? Are you distracted by what’s going on in your head, which is maybe clouding up the issue and making you a little less open and receptive to the creative energy? Creative energy is always present. SM: How do you know when you’ve got the right melody, the right line, the right take if everything is open to change? Is it hard to know when you’ve got it right? DS: Nope, because that same principal carries through everything. The minute you get that right recording or that correct take of a song or a solo, you already know it. No one has to come in and convince you, you know it. It resonates in your body and you feel it. You feel it and you trust yourself and then you go ahead, you don’t double back. It’s really obvious when you’ve got the right take and you’ve played the right solo, or when you’ve written just the right melody or you’ve come up with just the right lyric, it’s really obvious. SM: I know you’re gearing up for the Sting tour so I don’t want to keep you too long, is there anything else you’d like to cover? DS: What magazine is this for? SM: Songwriter’s Monthly.
DS: Songwriter’s Monthly, wow! No, you’ve had excellent questions, I can’t think of anything else I want to say because we did speak about some of the principals of composing and I’ve enjoyed it. If you want to ask me one last question . . . SM: It’s not so much of a question . . . I just have to say, I am really impressed by your manner, and your even tone, you truly speak like a man who has found serenity, a man who is at peace. DS: Oh, thanks! Well, I’m peaceful and happy because at the end of the day, I’m just a musician who has got a job (laughing). That’s the big victory! I’m very happy about that. I’ve got a lot of work this year and some amazing things are happening, so I feel very blessed and very fortunate. SM: Thank you for your time and congratulations, once again, on the incredible start to your year! DS: Thanks so much, I’ve enjoyed it. Take care, man. www.davidsancious.com www.twitter.com/ DavidSancious
Click here for tickets to see Sting/Paul Simon. Click here for tickets to see Peter Gabriel. David will be on both tours.
David Broza East Jerusalem/West Jerusalem
David Broza’s music has long held a special place in my album collection. From the instant I saw him perform live in Philadelphia at the Theater of Living Arts back in the early 90’s, I realized he was one of the elite few who could weave pure magic simply by brushing his fingertips across the strings of a guitar. His eloquent vocals, resonate with a rich and vibrant compassion. Women swoon as he sings and men marvel at his masterful technique. David Broza is truly an artist’s artist. His just released East Jerusalem/West Jerusalem on S-Curve Records was produced by Grammy award winners Steve Earle and Steve Greenberg and features performances by American musician Steve Earle, Haitian-American musician Wyclef Jean, Israeli musicians Gadi Seri and Yossi Sassi, Palestinian hip-hop duo G-Town (hailing from the Shuafat refugee camp), Arab/Israeli singer Mira Awad, and the halfPalestinian/half-Israeli Jerusalem YMCA Youth Choir. This impressive ensemble of artists recorded the album in East Jerusalem for 8 days and nights in early 2013.
“We brought Israeli and Palestinian chefs in to cook amazing meals, and we were able to completely dive into the music and turn the studio into a home,” recalled Broza. “For Israelis, East Jerusalem is unknown territory,” David stated. “So, when I would invite friends to come to the studio [Sabreen studio], they would think twice or wouldn’t show up. It’s ironic — we’re so afraid of something because we don’t know what it is. But I immerse myself in situations, really give myself to ideas, and I realized that if I want to be around Said [Murad, a renowned Palestinian composer, producer, and the leader of the band, Sabreen] more, I would need to bring my music to him, and bring projects to the studio.”
The completion of East Jerusalem/West Jerusalem is the realization of a dream several years in the making for David. According to his press release, Broza’s goal was to “symbolically connect adversaries through the power of art.” The collection of songs has been called a record that “blends cultures and languages into a powerful statement about collaboration and coexistence.” This new album is not only a mix of cultures and artists, it’s a mix of covers (Steve Earle, Elvis Costello, Cat Stevens, Timmy Thomas, Nick Lowe, Roger Waters) and originals. The opening “1 to 3” displays the subtle beauty of Broza’s warm vocals propelled by a gently surging rhythm. “Wild Carnations” is a poetic and personal piece of writing in which the artist poignantly expresses the sentiment “that everything is falling apart, but held together by love.” Peace, love and understanding are not just abstract concepts that the artist sings about, they are part of his heritage, indeed, part of his very lineage. As documented in the Jewish Music Group, David’s grandfather, Wellesley Aron, co-founded the ArabIsraeli peace settlement Neve Shalom – Wāħat as-Salām and the Habonim youth movement.
In an interview with the political website CounterPunch, Roger Waters (writer of Pink Floyd’s “Mother,” which David covers on this new album) voiced his opinions on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict in the Middle East: “The situation in Israel/Palestine, with the occupation, the ethnic cleansing, and the systematic racist apartheid Israeli regime is unacceptable. So for an artist to go and play in a country that occupies other people’s land and oppresses them the way Israel does is plain wrong.” In response, David Broza stated, “Music and art and free thinking will always prevail. People can disagree on the most profound issues, but there is always a chance to bridge the divide as long as the exchange of ideas continues.” “Regardless of his views on the issue of Israel and Palestine, Roger Waters has written one of the most anti-boycott, boundary-breaking songs ever in ‘Mother.’ So yes, not only have I recorded this extraordinary song, but I have recorded [it] in East Jerusalem using Israeli and Palestinian musicians, and I will perform it with those musicians next month when we tour the US,” Broza added. “I say to Roger Waters: Instead of boycotting, please come join us in reaching across the lines that divide us. We the people — not the governments — will make peace with each other. Instead of shutting down communication, come to my country and engage in the open exchange of ideas that will make change happen.”
Still from David’s video “(What's So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding”
To view the three-minute encapsulation of the power of this album, be sure to check out David’s cover of “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding” which features the Jerusalem Youth Choir, the only choir that includes both Palestinian and Israeli teens. The brilliance of East Jerusalem/West Jerusalem is through musical collaboration, David Broza has proven there can be peace, unity, and understanding of different peoples. Music has been called the universal language and David has put his faith where his chords are. “Of course, I want it to be seen and heard,” David expressed, “but I would also love other Israeli musicians to be inspired to come to this magnificent setting, which is humble but welcoming, and rub shoulders and look each other in the eye. And beyond that, to inspire minority communities outside Israel, to become an example of the possibility of putting hostility down through the arts.”
Website: www.davidbroza.net Facebook: www.facebook.com/ DavidBroza Twitter: www.twitter.com/ DavidBroza
Note: Unless otherwise cited, the information and quotes presented in this article were compiled from both personal experience and several recent press releases sent from David’s publicist and label.
Published on Jan 28, 2014
This issue marks our return to a magazine format. 55 packed pages featuring Kady Z, Pia Zadora, Samantha J, Shelly Peiken, David Sancious, D...