Monthly Archives: April 2011

Friday’s Blast from the Past: John Lennon – Imagine

You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.

I recently saw the movie, Nowhere Boy, about John Lennon’s childhood and finding out who his mother was.

For this week’s “Blast from the Past”, I thought I would put up one of my favorite Beatles song’s, “Imagine”. I remember first hearing this song as a remix, I didn’t even know it was a Beatles song until later in life. So, I’m posting the original and a remix.

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2011: The Year of the Female Pop Star

I’ve been wanting to say that for a few months now, but I wasn’t sure if I was too hasty in making that remark. The year isn’t over yet, and hip hop is all over the radio station, so much it’s nauseating how much I can switch back and forth from Eminem to whatever the hip hop artist of the month is.

Not to bash hip hop, I do like good hip hop and Tinie Tempah is definitely refreshing, also Diddy and Kanye West have made good hip hop albums, and Eminem did make some good hits, what’s playing on the radio… just feels like I am losing brain cells just listening to it.

But, what IS happening in music, and on the charts is the female pop star. Hip hop may be dominating radio, but the girls are dominating the charts, on iTunes, every time I look, I see Adele, Katy Perry, Britney Spears, Rihanna, Lady Gaga with their latest hit. Even Jennifer Lopez, Black Eyed Peas (ok, not, a solo pop star, but Fergie does get a lot of attention), Nicki Minaj, Selena Gomez, Ke$ha, Jessie J, Taylor Swift are making the charts and making a team of female singers not to be messed with.

This year, the number one artist seems to rotate between Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and Britney Spears and Adele. The Fab Five in 2011. Their singles get leaked, or audio only samples are shown on Vevo before the official music video is released and their latest dance pop hit can’t help but make number one or a lot of noise on the internet.

What’s so intriguing about these artists? They all have an edge, their music is catchy, danceable and they all have some kind of scandal in one way or another. Maybe not so negative a scandal, as Katy Perry, with a wedding to Russell Brand, but definitely interesting and gossip-worthy, and Adele is too new to the scene to have any scandal. She’s also the credible singer, and not a dance pop star, but her music is making waves.

New starlets are crawling into the cracks, it seems like daily. Kerli, Adele, Oh Land, Clare Maguire, Ellie Goulding, Skylar Grey, Naomi Scott are these new up and comers that are making a splash in their own way.

I decided to do a little experiment. For today’s iTunes 200, I counted up the hits of all the female pop artists (excluding Country, so Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood aren’t in this recording, but should be noted as they each have a position on the iTunes 200 as of today), and I wanted to calculate who was on top as of this moment.

Female pop solo artists make up 20% of the iTunes 200 as of today.

Adele and Katy Perry both have 6 songs on the charts, making them the leaders as of this moment. Adele, Katy Perry and Britney Spears round up the top 3 positions. Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Adele, Katy Perry and Britney Spears all together have 21 songs in the Top 200.

It’s interesting to see the numbers, I thought I would see more of a percentage, but when you think about it, just for female pop stars alone, it’s a big percentage. There is also a lot of country and hip hop and Glee songs (Glee has 7 songs on the chart).

Which Pop Star will reign supreme? Wait until the end of the year to see how it all goes down. For now, I’m enjoying this pop explosion, and looking forward to following up all the newbies on the music scene.

Remixes of the Top 3 Songs right now.

Katy Perry’s “E.T.”

Britney Spears’ “Till the World Ends”

Adele “Rolling in the Deep”

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A Star is Born – Clare Maguire “The Shield and the Sword”

Clare Maguire could be the next Adele/Lady Gaga/Cher. A striking voice, this Irish singer-songwriter is exploding onto the music scene. I feel like pop music is in a run for its money. Maguire is completely fresh, the music video, shot in a museum is visually artistic.

Something I kind of noticed in the music video, I don’t know if it is intentional, but I kind of feel like she is playing different pop stars. When she is sitting with the golden men around her, she kind of looks like Adele in the music video “Rolling in the Deep”.

When she has the blond wig, she looks like Lady Gaga.

And she looks like Katy Perry with the sunglasses with the long dark hair.

Maybe a homage to Pop Stars Past? Just when you think you’ve seen it all, someone like Clare Maguire comes into to shake up the music business. Check out the music video for her latest single, “The Shield and the Sword”.

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Stereo Love, Pumped Up Kicks, yeah, I Like That

Here’s some new, interesting music for you. The accordion is making a comeback in Jennifer Lopez & Pitbull’s “On the Floor” and in Edward Maya & Vika Jigulina’s  “Stereo Love”. “Stereo Love” kind of reminds me of dance music in the late 90s. It’s feels like tropical, vacation music.

A song I heard on the radio today for the first time, was “Pumped Up Kicks” by Foster the People. Apparently, this was a demo song that got leaked and became popular. Take a listen.

I song I just really like, even though it’s controversial is “I Like That” by Richard Vission & Static Revenger feat. Luciana. It kind of reminds me of Benny Benassi and I really like that hard house sound.

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Dan Wilson – Cry

I didn’t get to find an indie artist for today’s Indie Artist Mondays, so I decided to go with a song that’s not so popular. Here is Dan Wilson’s, “Cry”. He was the lead singer for Semisonic and also wrote songs for Adele. This song, “Cry” is from the album, Free Life. This is mellow, singer-songwriter music, kind of like James Blunt.

Check it out, and let me know if you like him.

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Miguel – Not Much of an Indie Artist Anymore

I first heard of Miguel when I went to the Viper Room last year to watch BMI’s The Next Fresh Thing, a showcase of new acts. I went to see Krys Ivory, I heard of her from an indie record label internship that I was in when I first moved to LA, and the event was hosted by BMI, so I thought I would go. When I first got into the Viper Room, Miguel was performing. The whole place was packed and he was killing it. I haven’t seen a performer so top notch like that in a while, and still haven’t since. He was dancing, singing on point and had amazing charisma.

After the set, I talked to him for a minute, telling him that he convinced me to be a fan, he was very nice to me. Not only was he a fabulous performer, but a genuinely nice person. I followed his career since, and he has performed at festivals, worked with Usher and continues to get bigger. His single is a slow jam, but live, he is extremely energetic, and is definitely worth seeing live.

This is his single, “All I Want is You”

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Mr. Hudson Feat. Kanye West, Chipmunk feat. Keri Hilson and Eric Turner in Street Fighting Man

The new way to hear about artists? Have them featured with today’s biggest artists.

I like this music trend, where artists take other newcomers under their wing, collaborate and bring to light these new talents.

I really like Mr. Hudson’s “Supernova”. I actually could really do without Kayne’s rap. I like the music video, I know lights in music videos are going to get bigger and bigger.

Chipmunk has Keri Hilson in, “In the Air”. It’s just a light-hearted song.

I was also wondering who Eric Turner was in the song “Written in the Stars” with Tinie Tempah. He’s a Swedish/American singer, in a band called Street Fighting Man. Not a big fan, but I’m excited to see what is coming next in Turner’s career, as I loved, “Written in the Stars”.

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Another Belated Indie Artist Monday- Saints of Valory

Ah, I’m off my game! Maybe I should make it Indie Artist Tuesdays??? Haha.

Fans of Coldplay and Kings of Leon will definitely like this band from Austin, Texas. Check out their Facebook page here: http://www.facebook.com/saintsofvalory. I like the song, “Sweet Disarray”

Check out this Youtube video here, but definitely check out their music on iTunes and their FB page.

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Blast from the Past Fridays: The Smashing Pumpkins – Tonight Tonight

I was trying to think of good rock songs for this Blast from the Past Fridays, and this song popped up in the forefront.

The song, with the violins, the original music video released in 1996, fifteen years ago. When this video came out, it was a hit on MTV. That’s when they did play music videos, and Beavis and Butthead ruled the airwaves.

This music video reminds me of the movie, Moulin Rouge. Perhaps it was inspired by this music video? maybe it’s from the same era, but the art and the romance seems familiar to me.

Enjoy.

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Rebecca Black’s “Friday” and What it Means for Indie Artists and the Music Business

I remember reading on Twitter and Facebook about Rebecca Black. Social media was blazing about this horrific song/video. Like one of those police car chases they show on TV from time to time, I was intrigued and had to look.

This article is about my two cents about the music video and more about the plight of the indie artist and what it takes to get noticed.

In the past, let’s say, about twenty to thirty years ago, in order for musicians to get their music out on a national and public scale, they needed to get signed by a record label. There was no getting around it, you needed to play the clubs, hope for an A&R man (Artist & Repertoire) to scout you, meet the head honchos, then they would brand you, or “develop” you. Create your look, prepare you and get you ready, and then you would make albums, tour and become a star.

The name of the artist game has changed significantly in the past few years, and it’s still changing this very moment. What’s going on? The internet. The internet kind of gave the public their own right to pick and choose the music that they wanted to hear, from all over the world. The public didn’t want to pay $20 for an album of one or two good songs and the rest crap. They wanted to buy that one or two songs (or download for free) and ignore the rest.

The record labels crumbled, but wait, not so fast, it’s not what you think it is.

In a way, it was good for indie artists and musicians. Indie artists, if they were good enough, almost in an American Idol fashion, could be voted into the mainstream if they got enough hits on Youtube or Facebook. A&R guys changed their game, instead of being discovered in a club, they’ll look for the next big thing on the internet, if you’re already generating buzz, then you’re a surefire hit, and probably a gain to the company. But, for the first time, indie artists who didn’t make it big, could make a living touring, making music without becoming huge names. If you hit the right niche market, you could tour and use social media and the internet to gain fans, you can release music yourself and do it all yourself.

The DIY Musician was born. But, again, it’s not what you think it is. The DIY Musician can only get so far. Without a record label, the DIY Musician cannot get national, or international stardom without the big marketing campaigns the record labels have under their belts.

And then, there are those who are lucky enough to get national attention with that ONE Youtube video. Greyson Chance, the Lady Gaga covering kid, got major attention after a flawless cover of one of Gaga’s classics, “Paparazzi”. Rebecca Black, an indie artist also found fame, for all the wrong reasons. Rumored that her parents paid $2,000 for a demo (the going rate for a demo is $1,500 per song from producers, believe it or not), Black made a song that was called one of the worst songs ever made. Her tone is flat, even aut0-tuning couldn’t really fix this song. The lyrics might as well have been from a Dr. Seuss book. It was a train wreck that everyone had to watch.

In spite of that, it was such a mess that it made her famous, she got into the iTunes Top 100 charts, and that $2,000 investment her parents made was the wisest choice they probably have ever made.

I heard from someone on Twitter, and I’m kicking myself that I didn’t write it down, but they basically said you have to be really good in music or really bad, you won’t get noticed if you’re in between. Rebecca Black was really bad, and it paid off. Social media helps indie artists, the really good ones do get through and unfortunately, so do the really bad ones. There is a way for indie artists to get out there, do-it-themselves and follow their dreams. Instead of the record labels controlling what we hear, more and more the public is taking what they hear, and dictating what they like, even if they don’t like it, and making it popular.

An interesting time in the music business.

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