You Sing, I Write: August 2010

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

You Sing I Write Adventures: August Recap

Earlier this summer, I wrote a post titled "A Day In the Life with Annie Reuter" after my friend Monica said she wanted to read more about my music adventures. Since then, I received an overwhelming response from readers requesting weekly updates. While my daily life isn't THAT exciting, I've been trying my best to provide monthly recaps. If there is anything specific you'd like to know, be sure to let me know in the comments!

August saw major life changes as I took the leap and moved to Brooklyn with two friends. When it used to take me more than an hour to commute to NYC for a show, I now have five concert venues within walking distance! As luck would have it, since the move my freelance work has picked up. I'll try my best to update the blog on a daily basis, but if I slack off please forgive me!

You can keep up with my apartment life on Busted Halo where my roommates and I blog for "Girls Meet God." Each week we reveal what it's like for three girls with different backgrounds and faiths to live together. Being the token Catholic girl, I've already learned so much about the Jewish faith and what it means to keep Kosher. Read all about it here.

In addition to exploring religion, I've continued writing for Lemondrop where I post articles that explore my dating life (eeek!) and find out love advice from other women. Most recently, I had the pleasure of interviewing Pat Benatar! A few days later, I attended her concert at Nokia Theater and was truly blown away. The way she interacted with the crowd was incredibly enjoyable and it was easy to see the love between her and guitarist husband of 29 years, Neil Giraldo. Whether it was Giraldo telling the audience the story behind "I Don't Want to Be Your Friend, I Just Want to Be Your Lover" (Benatar had a dream he cheated on her), or Benatar confessing her least favorite song to perform, ("Hit Me With Your Best Shot"), they had everyone's undivided attention.

Witnessing Benatar live was a concert experience like no other. A rock icon and inspiration to women everywhere, I never dreamed I'd interview and watch such a phenomenal artist live. It's moments like these that deepen my passion and determination to continue a career as a music journalist. I can't wait to share with you my future adventures!

Related Links:
You Sing I Write Adventures: A Day In the Life with Annie Reuter
You Sing I Write Adventures: Why I Love Taylor Swift, June Recap
You Sing, I Write's Top 5 Moments of 2009
Q&A with You Sing, I Write

Monday, August 30, 2010

Band of the Week: Titus Andronicus

Earlier today, I came across a Tumblr post by Titus Andronicus' guitarist and violinist Amy Klein. Titled "Tour Diary Day Four: Rock and Roll Is Dead," Klein writes about the way women are perceived in the media and music industry. Being the only female in indie rock band Titus Andronicus, she's had her fair share of experiences and insults thrown her way. On Saturday, she wrote a powerful post after she dissected the latest issue of Rolling Stone, and asked why females are left out of the discussion and coverage of rock & roll.

"What we’re doing when we exclude women from rock and roll, and from the sense of rebellion that rock and roll promises, is disallowing women that independent perspective. We’re never giving them the chance to think critically about the world, and about the systems that oppress them. When we take women out of the arts, and take them out of art’s ability to critique the way things are, we’re making sure that women keep swallowing the status quo, day after day, and it’s the status quo that keeps us down," she writes.

An insightful read, her entry got me thinking. Having recently read Pat Benatar's memoir and learned of all the hardships she went through being a female in the industry in the 80s -- 30 years later, why aren't more women being showcased for their talent?

It's musicians like Klein who leave an impact. One fifth of Titus Andronicus, her violin interludes are an intriguing addition to the punk rock outfit. With countless Bruce Springsteen and Jersey mentions in their songs, (see "A More Perfect Union") the New Jersey based band has been garnering praise from music publications everywhere. Their popularity only seems fitting, because their songs embody a certain punk urgency that hasn't been heard in years. And with Klein's passion about women in rock, one can only wonder what her influence on future albums will hold.

While slower songs like "No Future Part One" showcases their more serious side, it's tracks like the fast paced "Titus Andronicus" that brings to mind the beginning of the punk era. Complete with heavy percussion and relentless vocals, Titus Andronicus impress.

For more on Titus Andronicus, be sure to visit them on MySpace and check out the video for "A More Perfect Union" below. Definitely give Amy's Tumblr a read. I'd love to know your thoughts.

A More Perfect Union

Titus Andronicus | MySpace Music Videos

Friday, August 27, 2010

Q&A with Pat Benatar

Earlier this week, I interviewed the infamous Pat Benatar. Thanks for all your questions, I was able to squeeze most of them in! We chatted about life, work and dating -- including whether she still believes love is a battlefield. A true inspiration, Benatar gave me advice about living out your dreams and things she wish she knew in her 20s. You can read an excerpt below and for the complete interview visit Lemondrop.

You talk a lot about trusting your gut. You write, in your memoir, "Rock and roll is really about following your passion with no apologies. Following that sound in your head that only you can hear." What's your advice to 20-somethings trying to find that passion and pursue their dreams?

You have to be smart, of course. You can't just go running off to Kuala Lumpur throwing everything away. You don't want to wreck your life in the pursuit of your dream. I have two girls -- my youngest is 16 and my oldest is 25. I'm right in the thick of this with them. They struggle, they're afraid to take a chance, of what people think. You've got to give it up. You have to stop worrying about this. You have to sit down and really examine what it is in your heart that you really want, what makes you happy. And don't hurt anyone else in the process. Don't trample others to have the dream that you want.

I think everyone should go for what they really, really love. You may only get to do this one time. Don't be worried. Don't think that you can't have most of it. I'm of the belief that you cannot have it all. You can try. I think that you always have to make a sacrifice somewhere. I grew up during the women's movement, and they told us we can have everything. It was a lie. You definitely cannot have everything, not 100 percent. You can have it all, but some part of it at different times in your life will have to take a backseat. If you choose to raise your children, your career will take a backseat for a little while. If you choose to pursue your career at a stronger pace, your kids will take a backseat. It's just the ebb and flow of how life is. Don't make yourself crazy thinking you have to be a superwoman. It's not even possible. Think about what you want personally. Don't let other things, don't let the media, don't let anybody tell you what you're supposed to be, because only you know.

For more on Pat Benatar, visit her MySpace to hear some of her timeless classics.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Album Review: June Shellene's "Wait ‘Til Midnight Ends"

With soulful vocals, June Shellene impresses on latest release, Wait ‘Til Midnight Ends. No newcomer to the music scene, first album The Lost Art of Love, won two achievement awards from Billboard Magazine. Additionally, her songs have been covered by numerous artists, including jazz musicians and Broadway acts. A powerful vocalist, Shellene satisfies the listener as she blends jazz, blues and soul on Wait ‘Til Midnight Ends. 

Self-produced with bassist Jim Cox, the 13-track album combines delicate piano, fitting percussion and soulful saxophone features throughout. Despite the talented musical accompaniment, it is Shellene’s powerful vocals that leave the greatest impact. Her singing style blends well with the music, soaring at the perfect moment and fading to a whisper when she sees fit. Whether she’s singing about things she wishes life would present her on “Not Good Enough Blues” or belting out her emotions in between horn features on “We Won’t Let It Bring Us Down,” Shellene’s talent is undeniable.

Wait ‘Til Midnight Ends begins with the six-minute long title track. A glimpse of what’s to come on the remaining 12 songs, Shellene’s voice accentuates the piano, bowed bass and percussion accompaniment. The seductive “Make a Little Time for Love,” brings to mind Rosemary Clooney’s infamous “Mambo Italiano.” With upbeat percussion and a telling European vibe that transports the listener back in time, it is a song easily enjoyed on repeat. The standout track combines accordion, bass and percussion alongside Shellene’s pitch-perfect singing.

Though the piano is the chief instrument heard on most of the album, additional saxophone and horn interludes add diversity. “Lincoln Avenue” showcases Shellene’s sultry singing style combined with soulful saxophone while “We Won’t Let It Bring Us Down” switches gears with a slow story-like introduction with trumpet and clarinet features.

“Tattoo” is a refreshing change from previous songs. Not a complete escape from her roots, the track showcases a rustic country vibe. While previous songs could easily be envisioned in a jazz club, “Tattoo” has a telling southern influence that brings to mind soul music championed in Memphis.

A voice beyond compare, Shellene’s latest release embodies a timeless quality that brings to mind numerous jazz greats before her. An album that no doubt will stand the test of time, Wait ‘Til Midnight Ends, demonstrates her prowess as a singer and pianist. Continuously evoking emotion throughout each track, one can hear her passion for music on each song and only wonder at the power her next album will evoke.

For more on June, visit her on ReverbNation.

Monday, August 23, 2010

I'm Interviewing Pat Benatar Tomorrow!

Earlier this summer I filled you in on Pat Benatar's memoir, "Between a Heart and a Rock Place." A compelling read, Benatar is completely honest about what it was like dealing with record label, Chrysalis, and the obstacles she faced as a female artist throughout her career. Having paved the road for numerous female acts today, it is uncertain where women would be without Benatar's contributions.

"Rock and roll is really about following your passion with no apologies. Following that sound in your head that only you can hear," says Benatar.

Tomorrow I'll be interviewing Pat Benatar for Lemondrop. What have you always wanted to know? Be sure to send me your questions and I'll try to get them all in during our interview!

Related Links:
You Sing I Write's Summer Reading Playlist
Pat Benatar Reveals Her Struggles and Successes In Memoir
Song of the Week: "Love Is a Battlefield"
Contest of the Week: Win a Copy of Pat Benatar's Memoir

Friday, August 20, 2010

Song of the Week: "Life Is a Highway"

Summer is winding down (I know, I'm sorry. No one wants to hear this), but that doesn't mean the end of  road trips, BBQs and good music. This week's song of the week is inspired by Sammy, Darla and Julia, three girls about to embark on a 20-city road trip to discover authentic stories of food, fashion and music throughout the nation.

Watch the video below to find out more on the idea behind Road Hug USA as they embark on their road trip next week.

Road Hug USA from Road Hug USA on Vimeo.

Be sure to follow Sammy, Darla and Julia's adventures on Twitter. And for some inspiration to start planning your own road trip, check out Rascal Flatts' video for "Life Is a Highway" below.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Video of the Day: The Canon Logic's "Dead Man"

I've covered The Canon Logic quite a bit over the past few years. A band I first interviewed for CMJ and then managed, I'm psyched to be attending their rooftop concert tonight in Williamsburg. (I haven't become a Brooklyn hipster yet...but this may change soon).

Watch their first music video, "Dead Man" below and to read my review of their debut album and download some free tracks here. Expect live tweeting from the show tonight as well. Follow me!

Related Links:
Q&A with The Canon Logic
Song of the Week: "Delia"
The Canon Logic Video Performance
Canon Logic Lure Fans With Catchy Rock Songs, Sunglasses

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Martin Atkins Unleashes 20 Strategies for Indie Bands

With over 30 years in the music business, Martin Atkins is perhaps best known as a musician. A member of Public Image Ltd, Killing Joke, Pigface, The Damage Manual, and Murder Inc., as well as having made contributions to Nine Inch Nails and Ministry, Atkins continues to make a name for himself. The author and owner of Invisible Records and Mattress Factory Recording Studios, he can also add producer, columnist, lecturer at Columbia College Chicago, drummer, documentary film maker, DJ, and father to his resume.

Atkins' discussions during the New Music Seminar last month were candid and entertaining. His panel was complete with profanity and quirky stories intertwined with advice for indie bands trying to make it.

"Nobody gives a fuck about you, your band and your music except you," he told those in attendance. "It's not how you're communicating, but what you're communicating. Change is constant. Be aware of it and stay on top of it."

Cleverly titled, "Welcome to the Music Business — You’re Fucked; Problems You Will Face and Simple, Immediate, and Effective Solutions to Overcome Them. Grow Your Brand and Your Band Incrementally," below are 20 of Atkins tips as told at the conference.

1. Have a fucking strategy
2. Get the fuck out of bed (you'll be hours ahead of everyone by the end of the month)
3. Practice for catastrophe
4. Free is the new black
5. Get a diverse skill set
6. Stop overplaying your local market
7. Small is the new huge (don't play arenas, sell out small bars and work your way up)
8. You must have more than one t-shirt for sale
9. Be as good as you  need to be
10. Have more than one CD for sale
11. Never take your country to war unless you know the outcome (gas prices, hotel costs -- find out where your fans are and go there, don't just tour the entire country)
12. Pay for tools that work for you
13. Stay on top of new technology (learn social media tools)
14. Don't be an asshole
15. Have a tip jar
16. Stay with friends (cut down touring costs)
17. Book yourself
18. Learn how to screen print (t-shirts, merch)
19. Play songs people want to hear
20. Make cool shit (create something amazing people want to buy)

 Never give up!

For more helpful tips, be sure to follow Martin on Twitter.

Related Links:
Personal Connection with Fans Leads New Music Seminar Discussion
Hotspur Win NMS Artist on the Verge Competition
New Music Seminar Introduces the New Music Business
Artist of the Week: Matt White

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Artists You Should Know: Jason Reeves, Matt Hires

I've been listening to phenomenal singer-songwriters lately. Although I've already featured and interviewed both Jason Reeves and Matt Hires previously on You Sing I Write, since both have new music released today I figured I'd reintroduce them to you.

Jason Reeves is one of my favorite artists. His name may sound familiar because he's co-written on both of Colbie Caillats' albums. Reeves described himself as a hopeful romantic when I interviewed him last year at SXSW, and this can easily be seen in the emotional tales in his songs. You can preview the first track off his upcoming album, "Helium Hearts" on his Web site as well as purchase it on iTunes.

Watch a video of Jason performing "Droplets," a track he wrote with Colbie below.

I first witnessed Matt Hires live when he opened for Tyrone Wells last year. Since then, his music has been featured on numerous television dramas including "Grey's Anatomy" and "Private Practice." About to embark on a headlining tour promoting latest EP,  A to B, Hires' wavering vocals and acoustic guitar are sure to impress concertgoers. To stream his EP on AOL click here.

To learn more, watch CNN's video interview with Matt below.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Artist of the Week: Elvis Presley

I find it only fitting to make Elvis Presley my artist of the week, being that today is the 33rd anniversary of his death. The King of rock & roll, I've been listening to Elvis for as long as I can remember. Whether it's his infamous, "Jailhouse Rock" or the beautiful "Can't Help Falling In Love," his songs are classics.

I've posted a few of the more popular videos below for your enjoyment. You can also view previously unreleased photos of Elvis as a 21-year-old at Rolling Stone here. What's your favorite Elvis song?

"Suspicious Minds"

"Jailhouse Rock"

"(Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear"

Friday, August 13, 2010

Music Addiction: Featuring Hotspur, Gaslight Anthem, Tyrone Wells

Despite the millions of songs out there, when there's one I love I find myself listening to the same track on repeat all day. Take Gaslight Anthem's "Blue Jeans and White T-Shirts." After catching their hometown set at the Stone Pony last Thursday, I listened to it all weekend non-stop and it has easily become my favorite song of theirs.

I'll add a few more of my current song addictions below. What track do you currently have on repeat? Let me know!

Hotspur: "If These Walls Could Talk"

I've covered Hotspur a few times over the past year. This is their latest music video off album, You Should Know Better By Now.

The Gaslight Anthem: "Blue Jeans and White T-Shirts"

I couldn't find any high-quality videos of the Jersey boys performing the entire song live, but this video made by a fan plays the song in it's entirety. At the concert, frontman Brian Fallon said "Blue Jeans and White T-Shirts" has been the soundtrack to many weddings.

Tyrone Wells: "Dream Like New York"

This is currently my favorite track of the day. I've had it on repeat all afternoon. Tyrone Wells is one an amazing live performer. You can get a feel for him as he sings below.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Introducing New York Summer Music Junkie Contest

Since moving to Brooklyn this past weekend, I've been constantly urged to visit Brooklyn Bowl, a super hip music venue so I hear. After learning about the NYC Summer Music Junkie contest sponsored by SuperGlued, I just may be making a trip sooner than I thought.

A friend recently sent along information about a music contest through SuperGlued, a community for live music lovers, where you earn points and prizes for all the things you do before, during and after shows, such as Twitter updates, FourSquare checkins, blog reviews and photo and video uploads. The more frequently you post something, the better chance you have to win prizes from Brooklyn Bowl, CMJ, Seaport Music and more.

Points earned will be tracked on SuperGlued's homepage, and top scorers earn weekly prizes throughout the summer. The contest runs until September 4th, so if you haven't yet, be sure to create a profile and start posting! This week the highest earners win a CMJ badge, a pair of tickets to Rock the Bells at Governor's Island, and a pair of tickets to see Bloc Party's lead singer perform at Webster Hall in September.

The biggest music junkie of all wins the grand prize package, which includes a Brooklyn Bowl 365 pass (free admission for you and a friend for one full year) and a guest DJ spot on the Seaport Music Show on East Village Radio. To find out more and sign up, click here. I just may myself too. Good luck!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Video Interview: Graham Colton

I chatted with Graham Colton  back in April after his show at Maxwell's in Hoboken. He filled me in on his songwriting process, upcoming release and what it's like touring with his musical heroes. You can watch the video below and read the complete interview on Hoboken Patch here.

Video Credit: Wendy Hu

Monday, August 9, 2010

Video Interview: Colbie Caillat

I sat down with Grammy Award winning singer-songwriter Colbie Caillat a few months ago before her performance for VH1 Save the Music. She filled me in on co-writing, dealing with stage fright and her two Grammy wins. For the complete article, visit Hoboken Patch.

Watch the video below.

Video credit: Wendy Hu

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Video Interview: Orianthi

One of my favorite interviews to date, I met up with Orianthi when she was in town last December promoting her debut album, Believe. Having shared the stage with Michael Jackson, Carlos Santana and Steve Vai and with the goal to inspire more girls to pick up the electric guitar, Orianthi is a stand out role model. While she began playing guitar at the age of six, she said being a female guitarist wasn't always easy.

“Guitar is a guy’s thing. I’d get picked on a lot and school wasn’t exactly the easiest time,” Orianthi said. “Actually, my teacher told me I should play the harp, it’s more feminine. It’s kind of like being a male ballerina in a way … I loved playing guitar so much that I stuck at it. I just want to inspire more girls to pick it up and stick at it and believe in themselves with whatever they do. You just have to follow down your path.”

Watch my video interview with Orianthi below to learn more about her passion for guitar, what it was like to perform with Santana and her experience working with Michael Jackson. To read the complete transcription click here.

Video credit: Wendy Hu

Friday, August 6, 2010

Video Interview: The Ting Tings

The Ting Tings exploded onto the music scene with catchy dance track, "That's Not My Name"  two years ago. Their songs have become staples at clubs and bars ever since.

I sat down with Katie White and Jules De Martino last summer when they were in town for All Points West. Watch below as the UK sensation discuss the success of their album, hit single and being fashion icons. For more, be sure to visit their Web site.

Video credit: Wendy Hu

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Video Interview: Brandi Carlile

A few months ago, I caught Brandi Carlile's phenomenal live show and interviewed her for Venus Zine. I've been anxiously awaiting to share my post with you because the interview was so honest and incredibly insightful!

Watch Brandi discuss how Lilith Fair shaped her life musically and socially, her songwriting process and advice on achieving success below. For my complete writeup, where she filled me in about working with Elton John and the stories behind some of her songs, visit Venus Zine.

Video credit: Wendy Hu

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Video Interview: Jake Owen

One of the most comical musicians I've interviewed, Jake Owen sure knows how to make those around him laugh. When asked about his dog touring with him, he informed the CMA press room that his dog was just neutered, adding, "I realize I need to get neutered. I would probably chill out a lot if that happened." The room erupted in laughter.

Whether it's his heartwarming ballads or edgier tracks, Owen brings his diversity to the table. After he hurt his shoulder wakeboarding, he picked up guitar during rehabilitation and the rest, as they say, is history. I chatted with Jake last summer about his writing process, the stories behind his songs and what he thinks about while onstage performing. Some of his answers may surprise you.

Watch the video below and read the complete transcription here.

Video credit: Wendy Hu

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Video Interview: Holly Williams

Music is in Holly Williams' blood. Writing her first song at the age of eight is just one indication. Being the granddaughter of the legendary Hank Williams Sr. and daughter of Hank Williams Jr. doesn't hurt either.

I chatted with Holly in Nashville last year right before her album, Here With Me, was released. Watch below as Holly discusses her music, what she thinks about while performing and her stylish boutique in Nashville. For more on Holly Williams, visit MySpace.

Video credit: Wendy Hu

Monday, August 2, 2010

Video Interview: David Nail

I'm officially making the move to Brooklyn this week (yay!). With freelance work and packing keeping me super busy, I thought I'd make it Video Week on the blog and showcase all the video interviews I've worked on.

Just over a year ago I began filming interviews thanks to my friend and talented photographer/videographer Wendy Hu. David Nail was the first video interview we conducted last summer at the CMA Music Festival in Nashville. It's crazy to think some of our Q&A's have received over 6,000 views! We have a few more to edit and post later this summer, so stay tuned!

A self-proclaimed mama's boy, Nail filled me in on his transition into the country music scene, the inspiration behind some of his songs and his favorite part of performing in the video below. Be sure to visit him on MySpace.

Video credit: Wendy Hu

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Poll of the Week: What's Your Favorite Summer Song?

Summer is in full swing and there are a few token songs I've heard at every BBQ, party and wedding. My question for you this week is, what's your favorite summer song? Is it Katy Perry's catchy "California Gurls," Travie McCoy's wishful "Billionaire" or Usher's danceable "OMG"?

Watch the videos below and let me know in this week's poll! Be sure to add additional songs in the comments if I left your favorite out.

Katy Perry: "California Gurls"

Travie McCoy: "Billionaire"

Usher: "OMG"


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