You Sing, I Write: October 2009

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Saturday Song Addiction: Halloween Edition

Halloween has always been my favorite time of the year. Maybe it's my chocolate addiction or the fact that you can dress up and be whoever you want for one day. Either way, here are a few songs to get you amped for tonight's festivities.

Michael Jackson "Thriller"

Bobby 'Boris' Pickett and The Cryptkickers "Monster Mash"

Backstreet Boys "Everybody"

I really can't help but always be reminded of this video around Halloween. Come on, werewolves, vampires, Jekyll and Hyde? Now if only I was coordinated enough to learn that dance . . .

Watch the "Everybody" video here.

What songs did I miss? Is there a track that always reminds you of Halloween?

Friday, October 30, 2009

Watch Concerts From the Archives with Wolfgang's Vault

Photo Credit: Wendy Hu

It's the dream of every concert connoisseur — access to hundreds of notable performances that span the decades. Whether you're a rock fan, metal aficionado or passionate about the blues, there is something for everyone.

This November, Wolfgang's Vault will release a thousand live concerts available for the first time including The Grateful Dead, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Twisted Sister, Dolly Parton, The Ramones, Aretha Franklin, Miles Davis, Bonnie Raitt and more. The site's Concert Vault already features over 2800 rare and exclusive concerts available to stream free and is planning an unprecedented online event on November 3: “Cracking the Vault Day,” the largest-ever simultaneous release of live concerts for download.

"Beginning November 3, the site will add more than 1,000 titles from 919 artists to the approximately 500 that are currently available for purchase from the site's Concert Vault section," Billboard reports.

An ambitious project, negotiations are currently in the works with artists including Bruce Springsteen, the Rolling Stones, the Who, Bob Dylan, Pink Floyd and Dire Straits. For more, read Billboard's article here and visit Wolfgang's Vault. Life just got a little better.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Join You Sing, I Write On Facebook

Keeping up with the many forms of social media is a full time job itself, yet I have added one more to the unending list: Facebook Fan Page. I created the page for You Sing, I Write last week so you can become a fan here and keep up with the latest music news. I'll try my best not to bombard you, but feel free to check it out, leave comments and peruse the photo album.

If you haven't yet, here's some other spots you can find You Sing, I Write:


Is there anywhere else You Sing, I Write should be? (Please say no...) As always, feel free to leave comments on the blog or any of the above mentioned sites! Look forward to reading your suggestions.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Q&A with Train

They've sold millions of records worldwide, achieved the ever-coveted Grammy for award-winning song "Drops of Jupiter (Tell Me)" and have ridden to the top of the Billboard charts for notable singles including "Meet Virginia" and "Calling All Angels." Just yesterday Train released their fifth album, Save Me, San Francisco, bound to acquire similar success. First single off the album, "Hey, Soul Sister" is already climbing the charts and seems to be a hit amid fans old and young.

I spoke with guitarist Jimmy Stafford at the start of Train's 28-city tour. He filled me in on Train's latest release, embracing the Internet and a younger fan base and the reasons behind their longevity.

After 15 years together, Train continues to make their mark on the music scene. "We love this band. We’re like brothers. We have common goals and interests. We created this band and it’s our lives," Stafford said. Read on to find out more.

How is Save Me, San Francisco different from your previous albums? Did taking time off help with the writing process?
I think it helped with a lot of things. We were pounding pretty hard for 10 years just going from album and then tour, right back into another album and another tour. I think we all needed a break. Sometimes you need to take a step back to realize what you’ve got. I think we did that. We all went and did our own thing for a few years. And, I think by doing that we all realized what we have here and what this band means to us and to our fans. I think we came back re-energized and feeling stronger about this than ever before. I think we recorded, in my opinion, our best album as a result. We’re all super fired up about everything right now.

What’s your songwriting process like? Did you go about it differently on Save Me, San Francisco?
Yeah, it actually was. It’s always a little bit different. The producers you work with, where the band’s at. This album, we worked with a lot of outside writers for the first time, which I think was a good thing. We ended up with a batch of really great songs to choose from and we also wrote as a band a lot. We just had so much material to choose from at the end of the day that we had to bring in some people to help go through it all and pick the best stuff. When you write a song it’s kind of like it’s your baby, you love them all and you don’t have the perspective of what’s good. So we brought in some great people, our A&R guy and our management to help us go through everything. That way there are no egos involved. “Well, not enough of my songs made the record.” There was none of that. We wanted to make the best record we possibly could and I think we did that.

Tell me about latest single, “Hey, Soul Sister.”
Pat wrote that with a couple other guys. The story lyrically, I’ve heard Pat talk about this in interviews. He’s always heard of Burning Man. Somewhere in the Californian desert, they do it every year. It’s this whole city in the desert that gets built for a festival that happens every year. They build a huge man out of wood and at the end of the festival they burn it. Pat had never been to Burning Man, but he had an image in his head of what it must be like. All these beautiful women dancing around the fire. That was the imagery he conjured up when he was writing the lyrics to, “Hey, Soul Sister.” It’s a pretty big deal. Thousands and thousands of people go to it every year. People run around naked and I guess it’s a total crazy deal.

Are there any songs you’ve written over the years that hold more meaning to you now than when you first had written it?
That’s an interesting question. There’s a song off our first album called “I Am.” When we wrote it, it was probably one of the first songs we ever wrote together as band and it just seemed like a nice, cool song at the time. We don’t play it live every night, maybe once out of every 30 shows do we do that song, but we did it last night in Seattle. Every time we play that song, as I get older and have spent more years with this band, the lyrics in that song, “Am I the son I think I am/Am I the man I think I want to be,” there are some really nice lyrics that you can’t help . . . I find myself being a little introspective when we play that song.

In a previous interview Pat was talking about the album and said that the lyrics in many of the songs are, “about love in every way you can think about it.” Do you feel you have to be in love to write a love song? Does a song come out better when you’ve experienced it yourself?
I don’t think you have to be in love. As a matter of fact, I think probably some of the best love songs are breakup songs, songs that were written when people were going through really hard times in their life. Pat just happens to be in a really good, happy place in his life and it makes for some very positive songs with positive messages. I think it’s a good thing. We’ve always been a hopeful sort of band. Our lyrics always had a bit of hope into them.

It’s funny, Pat is the type of lyricist that writes lyrics that might mean something to him, and they might mean something completely different to you and I. His lyrics are very open to interpretation. A lot of times I’ll be playing a song every night live and I’ll think it means whatever I think it means to me and then Pat will tell me what it’s about and I’ll be like, “Really? You just ruined it for me!” That’s why I’m not really a big fan of music videos. I think they force a message on the viewer. They’re like, “Oh, I really didn’t want the song to be about that.”

The music industry has changed since you began 15 years ago. Bands can talk directly to fans on Twitter, have their music featured in TV shows. Do you feel it would have been easier if Train came out today?
I think it is easier in a lot of ways for people to reach out to a bigger fan base through MySpace and Facebook and Twitter. It’s been weird a little bit, being in the middle of that. We were a band before all that stuff was around and have had to adjust and crossover into that world. If you don’t change with the times you’re going to get left behind and I think we’re doing a pretty good job of it. Our record company and our management have really helped us move into that arena really nicely. They’ve redone our Web site, which looks great and they have gotten us into Twitter, Facebook and MySpace.

We’re much more in touch with our fans than we were five years ago. It seems to be getting us a wider age range as well. It seems like a lot more kids, and I don’t know if it’s just the nature of the new single “Hey, Soul Sister.” I’m sure it’s partly that and partly that kids are all computer savvy these days. Everybody’s on MySpace and Facebook and if you’re not you’re not really hip as a band. You’ve got to be there. It’s just too big of a deal and there are too many people that can be reached through the Internet. I think it’s a really good, positive thing for us, and for new up-and-coming bands. You have to take advantage of that.

What do you feel is the reason to Train’s longevity?
I don’t know that there’s a secret to it. We just love doing what we do. We love this band and we love each other. Pat, Scott and I have been together for 15 years now. We all have the same goals and we want this band to succeed. It’s all about the music. We enjoy the music that we play, we love recording it and we love going out and playing it live. As long as our fans keep loving it too and keep coming out to see us play live, I don’t see why we’d ever stop doing it because it’s a pretty good job. We’re really fortunate to be able to do this, to do something that we love to do and have other people love it too. We just keep stretching, we keep trying to grow as human beings, as musicians and as songwriters and we keep trying to do what we love to do and people know that. People get the positive message that we’re trying to put out there and it has kept us around.

Is there one thing you wish you were told about the music industry when you started?
I don’t know about that. The music industry has been pretty good to us along the way. It’s a business. I think when we first started out it took us a while to learn that. Record companies . . . it’s a business if you’re not doing your job you’re going to get fired. We’ve been with Columbia Records for every record from the beginning. They’re our family and I think they think of us as family too. We’ve had a really good ride with them. It’s worked out well for everybody I think.

Do you have a favorite track on Save Me, San Francisco?
That changes every day. I really like a song called “Breakfast In Bed.” That’s my favorite track today. That song is sexy. There’s a certain sexiness to it. “Marry Me,” the album closer, I can just see that song being played at everybody’s wedding next year. The new wedding song. I like them all, I feel like we’ve made our best album. There’s not a song on the record that I would take off.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

EP Review: Army of Me's "Make Yourself Naked"

In an age where Auto-Tune is recognized as music and overproduction takes the place of the stripped down and acoustic, Army of Me's latest EP, Make Yourself Naked is a welcomed reminder of where it all begins. On Make Yourself Naked, singer-songwriter Vince Scheuerman breaks things down and takes the listener on a journey.

"I never intended for anyone to hear this music," Scheuerman said. In fact, the recordings on Make Yourself Naked were originally meant to be song ideas and demos for the next Army Of Me record. It was recorded on his laptop, in his bedroom in Washington DC.

Reminiscent to that of Switchfoot singer-songwriter Jon Foreman's seasonally themed EP's released last year, Scheuerman pours his heart and emotion into each track, inviting listeners into his bedroom. With the overlying theme of love, the EP includes the beautiful "Don't Be Long" and "Love Song" (listen below).

While a definite contrast from Army of Me's debut album, Citizen, the five-song EP was Scheuerman's first attempt at self-recording: he only had a microphone, guitar, keyboard and laptop to work with. The result is a raw EP of honesty and intimacy.

Revealing his vulnerability, with delicate finger strumming on "Love Song" Scheuerman sings, "Love I want to give myself away/Love I want to receive you back in the same way/I make no sense on my own/We're meant for each other/This is love/I forgot the part of my heart that could burn for someone/Happy surprise when I can't take my eyes from you/You are something sweet/Surely have captured me/But I know I will stay anyway."

"Lost At Sea" draws numerous aquatic metaphors, allowing the listener to come to his own conclusion while "On My Way" paints a vivid picture of a man on a long and uncertain journey. Beginning with soft strokes of the piano, "Don't Be Long" ends the EP with an ethereal chorus to the fadeout of the song, begging the listener to question what's in store next for Army of Me. A solid release, it is hard to believe Make Yourself Naked was recorded in Scheuerman's bedroom on a laptop. Nonetheless, it is often these intimate moments that make the best music.

To listen to "Love Song" click here. Be sure to visit Army of Me on MySpace for tour dates and to purchase the EP.

Related Links:
Audio Interview with Vince Scheuerman of Army of Me
I'm With the Band
Army of Me Invades Brooklyn
Q&A with Vince Scheuerman

Monday, October 26, 2009

Band of the Week: Hotspur

With their arena friendly choruses and infectious vocals, it is no wonder that Hotspur recently won MTVu's The Freshman for catchy single "Chandelier." Currently in rotation on MTVu, "Chandelier" mixes high energy pop rock with polished musical interludes bringing to mind bands including Fall Out Boy and Boys Like Girls.

I caught Hotspur's energetic performance at The Studio at Webster Hall last Monday where I met a few fans who drove three hours to witness their set, promising me a good show. The band impressed and despite the small stage setup, Hotspur are a band I expect to see selling out arenas in a few years. Whether it was frontman Joe Mach jumping off the drum kit or minute long instrumental breaks, those that stuck around long after midnight for their performance left the venue satisfied with the promise of another New York show in the near future.

While the majority of their songs include high energy and power pop tendencies, ballads such as "Heads/Tails" are a welcomed and unexpected change, proving Hotspur's prowess as musicians and songwriters. In fact, it is the tales behind their tracks that leave an impact on the listener. Their storytelling includes vivid imagery and their lyrics exemplify pop songwriting at it's best.

Enough to make any girl swoon, on "$$$" Mach sings, "There's not enough money in the world/To make me forget you girl/And nobody else in the world makes me feel like you." Move over Fall Out Boy, Hotspur is well on their way.

Watch Hotspur's video below for "Chandelier" and be sure to visit them on MySpace where you can download their entire catalog for free on Halloween.

Reccomended: For fans of Boys Like Girls, Fall Out Boy, Lights Resolve.

Related Links:
Artist of the Week: MoZella
Band of the Week: Sherwood
Band of the Week: This Century
Artist of the Week: Glass Pear

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Sunday Song Addiction

Sunday brings my weekly dose of four songs I'm currently addicted to. Read on to listen to tracks from artists on the rise as well as some music legends. I'd love to know which songs you can't take off your iTunes playlist!

After watching an interview with Michael Buble on CNN earlier this week I listened to his latest single, "Haven't Met You Yet." With that classic Buble sound, it is no wonder his recent release, Crazy Love debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard charts.

A few weeks ago I interviewed Matt Hires and chatted about his music being featured on "Private Practice" and "Grey's Anatomy." Definitely a fan of music in TV shows, Hires could not have predicted what happened this past week. On Thursday, "Grey's Anatomy" used his track, "Out of the Dark" as the closing song during a poignant moment of the episode. Following the broadcast his debut album, Take Us To The Start jumped over 100 spots on the iTunes album chart!

You can watch Hires' "Out Of The Dark" music placement on "Grey's Anatomy" here.

To listen to the track in its entirety on REAL click here. For WIN, click here.

When out with friends and being introduced to someone new, the typical, "Where are you from?" question always comes up. Being a Jersey girl myself, it's beyond frustrating to continuously hear the insults and endless remarks made about New Jersey. Bruce Springsteen comes to my defense this week in his classic, "Jersey Girl."

Currently on tour with Third Eye Blind, Hot Chelle Rae impress with catchy dance track, "I Like To Dance." Listen to the track here and if you dig, pick up their debut album, Lovesick Electric due out tomorrow.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Q&A with Matt Hires

Singer-songwriter Matt Hires is making a name for himself. With catchy pop rock hooks and charming vocals people are starting to take notice. It can't hurt that his music has been featured in popular shows like ABC's "Grey's Anatomy" and "Private Practice."

I met up with Hires after his memorable set opening for Tyrone Wells in New York. Taking the stage barefoot with his acoustic guitar, Hires captivated the room with his heartfelt lyrics and intimate performance. While songs including current single, "Honey, Let Me Sing You A Song" tell tales of a budding romance, others such as "Turn the Page" are more emotional and beg the listener to make his own interpretation.

Having released his debut album, Take Us To the Start, earlier this year, Hires filled me in on his songwriting process, collaborating with Sara Bareilles and the pros and cons of performing barefoot. Read on for more about Matt Hires and be sure to visit his MySpace and catch a show when he's in town.

I have to ask, do you always play barefoot?
I do. Well, pretty much always. It’s just something I’ve always done since I started playing. There have been a couple shows where there has been some broken glass on the stage in some sketchy places. Or, if it’s an outside show with a black stage it’s really hot sometimes. So, there have been a few shows that I play with shoes on but most of them have been barefoot. There was this one when I was in my old band in Florida called Brer, before I started the solo thing. It was one of those rare cold days in Florida and it was an outside show. I was playing barefoot and there was a tack or something on the stage that I stepped on, but I didn’t realize I had stepped on because my feet were so cold. So, sometimes it hasn’t worked out.

Tell me about your album, Take Us To the Start. This is your first full record as a solo artist. What’s the difference recording as a solo artist vs. your experience as a band?
We [previous band, Brer] had an independent release, so we put it out ourselves. It was mostly just selling it at shows; it wasn’t distributed at all. The recording process with my solo record was much more of me and my producer. We were the creative minds behind it. It was much easier than when you’re working with four different people. The recording process with the full band was a lot more stressful I would say. There are times when you get into fights about things. I’m really happy with how that record turned out, but overall, recording my solo record was an easier process.

It was completely different because we were on a very limited budget with the band record and we only had a week to record the record. With my solo record we were recording it in my producer’s home studio and we had a couple of months to record so we could take our time with it to really make sure it turned out how I wanted it to be. They were definitely two completely different experiences.

You released an EP last year.
Yeah. Actually, when I was out in Los Angeles last summer recording the record I played a couple of shows at the Hotel Café out there. The EP was four live songs from those shows.

One of those songs was on “Grey’s Anatomy.”
None of the live songs were on there. We used the acoustic demos that we recorded in the studio. The way we recorded the record was, we would record the song acoustically first and then build on that with the band. We ended up using one of the acoustic demos on “Grey’s Anatomy” and one on “Private Practice” also.

Did you watch “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Private Practice” when your music was featured?
I did. With “Private Practice” I watched the whole episode. With “Grey’s Anatomy” my song was at the very beginning of the show so I didn’t actually watch the whole show. It was surreal for sure to hear. “Private Practice” was the first one. The song was in a pivotal emotional part of the episode so it was cool to be able to hear my song used in that emotional way. It was definitely surreal to know that thousands of people are watching this.

Have more people responded to you from your music on the shows?
Definitely. I’ve gotten fans from it. It’s very cool. I’m definitely a fan of music in TV shows.

Your first EP you were compared to John Mayer, Dave Matthews, Mat Kearney. Did you feel any pressure releasing your album to live up to those expectations?
Not really. I like those artists. I don’t necessarily listen to a lot of their stuff so I don’t think my music sounds like them. I didn’t feel any pressure from that.

How would you describe your music to someone who has never heard it before?
I have trouble answering that question. I just try to write solid songs that are as true to myself as much as possible. I feel like they’re influenced from where I’m from. A little Southern influence. There is some banjo on some songs. I love Tom Petty, who is another fellow Floridian. To describe my sound, my influences . . . I love Bob Dylan. I think a lot of influence comes from older folk stuff and also newer things. I try to write songs that have their roots in classic, older artists like that and try to do something new and relevant with that also.

I love the first single off the album, “Honey, Let Me Sing You A Song.” What’s the story behind it?
I wrote the song about a girl I was dating at the time who I had been friends with for a long time, but had a slow attraction that blossomed through that. That’s what the song is about.

Your songs are very personal. Do you ever hold back for fear the person you’re writing about could hear it?
Not that much. I will say some of the first songs that I wrote were maybe a little too personal. I started writing songs after my first real girlfriend broke up with me. I wrote one song that maybe wasn’t necessarily the nicest. The first show I played her parents were actually there and I was like, “Oh whatever, they’re not going to know it’s about her.” So, that didn’t go over too well. I learned to not be so personal.

What is your typical songwriting process?
I used to carry a voice recorder everywhere, but now my phone has a voice recorder on it so I just use that. I don’t have a set process. Sometimes I’m just sitting down with a guitar and strum a couple chords. Sometimes it’s just a line or concept that will come to me. Sometimes it’s the melody or any combination of those things. I try to just let it happen most of the time. My favorite part of songwriting is when it just happens, when a song will come to me and I’ll write it in half an hour. That’s not always the case; sometimes it takes more work than that.

You have a song on the album that you co-wrote with Sara Bareilles. How is co-writing different than writing a song on your own? Is the process different?
Yeah. I hadn’t done any co-writing at all until I started working with my producer. We were working on some stuff together and he had different friends come in. He has produced Sara’s record so he had Sara come in. It’s definitely different because we’re all sitting in a room and you have to open up to the other people. When you’re writing a song by yourself you can come up with the craziest stuff and it doesn’t matter because you’re by yourself. When you’re with other people it can be a little more intimidating at first. Sara is a great songwriter and everything just comes out really naturally for her. She was fun to work with. I’m really happy with the song we wrote together. She sang the background vocals on it on the record too. That was a good experience.

Would you do it again? Any dream collaborations?

Yeah. Dream collaborations . . . Jakob Dylan would be cool. Tom Petty.

Do you have a certain song on the album that means more to you than others?
Well, the two that I’m the closest to would be “Honey, Let Me Sing You A Song” and “Turn the Page” which are the oldest songs on the album. I wrote them the longest time ago. Just because I’ve played them so many times and I’m really close to them. “Turn the Page” was one of those songs that came in half an hour and just came out of me one night.

Do you feel a song comes out better when it’s based on a personal experience?
Sometimes. And sometimes there are songs that just come out and I write them and figure out what they’re about later.

Do you remember the first song you ever wrote?
The first song I ever wrote was called, “Sunshine State Serenade” and it was a song about Florida.

Do you still play it?
I don’t really. I actually did play it at a show earlier this year in San Francisco. I don’t normally play it.

Do you remember when you realized you wanted to be a musician?
I guess it would have been when I was about 19 or so. I was going to a community college in Florida and I had started to play in Brer, the band I was in. I thought that I at least wanted to give it a shot and try and see if I could make a living out of it. Had to have the talk with the parents about the band and school. They were very supportive of me and it ended up working out, so that was good.

The music industry is so hard to break into. What’s your advice?
I don’t know. People email me on MySpace and Facebook and ask me for advice a lot. My experience was different than most because my A&R person from Atlantic randomly heard some of my songs on MySpace and contacted me. I wasn’t actively pursuing or sending stuff to labels, which was pretty incredible. I didn’t go about it the typical way, if there is a typical way. My advice, from my experience, is just to be as good at your craft as you can be and play out in front of people as much as you can.

How are you different from all the musicians out there?
I don’t know if I’m different or not, that’s kind of subjective to the listener. I just try to write good, honest songs from my heart and write as well as I can and try to make music that people can enjoy and relate to.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

You Sing, I Write Celebrates Two Years!

Photo Credit: Wendy Hu

It's hard to believe that exactly two years ago today I had this crazy idea to start a music blog. (You can read my first post here.) My job at the time wasn't writing related so I decided to start You Sing, I Write as a place to unleash my creativity and keep up with my writing. Focused on music, I decided I'd review concerts and albums and interview bands whenever I got the chance. Slowly, however my blog turned into a full time job.

Interviewing Fergie at Z100's annual Zootopia concert.

While I still worked full time, my blog was always on my mind. Who is coming to town that I can interview? What concert can I catch after work? Luckily, my internships turned into additional writing outlets where not only was I contacting bands for my blog, but I could also feature them on sites including MTV and Rolling Stone which eventually led to additional publications such as Marie Claire and Filter.

Interviewing Jon Foreman of Switchfoot.

Over the past two years I have toured with musicians, interviewed some of my favorite artists, traveled to festivals throughout the country, managed a band and even hosted my own concert where the draw exceeded expectations. What had originally started as an outlet for myself has grown to thousands of international viewers each month, something I still have a hard time grasping. My goal within the next year is to continue You Sing, I Write's expansion and launch an official Web site with more video interviews and exclusive behind-the-scenes access to your favorite musicians. Stay tuned! The next year will be exciting!

Covering Jay-Z's performance at All Points West.

I'm excited to announce You Sing, I Write's second annual anniversary concert! This year, in partnership with The Jew Spot, I am organizing a benefit concert for To Write Love On Her Arms. Yesterday we put the deposit on Don Hills for Saturday, December 19th. I hope you'll come out and celebrate two years with both of us and enjoy a night of great music! Monica and I will be announcing the bands in a few weeks as well as the link where you can buy your tickets. Please save the date. I would love to meet you all! Thanks again for your continued support and endless comments and band suggestions. Hope to see you in December!

Related Links:
I'm Not A Groupie: A Music Lover's Tale of Getting That Interview
Why Benefit TWLOHA
I'm With the Band
Top 10 Interviews

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Carrie Underwood Featured on Walmart Soundcheck

For all you country music lovers, last week Walmart Soundcheck debuted their series with country's very own soulful songstress Carrie Underwood. Watch the promo below and to view videos of Underwood performing some tracks off her new album as well as previous hits like "Before He Cheats," "Jesus Take the Wheel" and a live interview click here.

If you like what you hear, be sure to pick up her new album, Play On, due in stores November 3.

Related Links:
Relive Nashville's Country Music Festival with Jake Owen
Martina McBride and Former Miss America Speak Out on Domestic Violence
CMA 2009: Six Artists to Watch
CMA Music Festival Recap

Monday, October 19, 2009

Artist of the Week: MoZella

Detroit-based singer MoZella is an artist to watch. Reminiscent to that of Macy Gray, Norah Jones and Duffy with her infectious vocals, you will undeniably be humming her music long after the last note is played. A versatile artist, MoZella blends pop, soul, and jazz into endless tales of life and love.

While her sophomore album, Belle Isle, hits stores tomorrow, MoZella is not new to the music scene. In fact, you've probably heard clips of her songs in Nivea commercials and shows like "One Tree Hill," "Las Vegas," "How I Met Your Mother," "Bones" and more. Not to mention, she's been on tour with notable bands like the Dave Matthews Band, Lifehouse, Five For Fighting, Daniel Powter, Michelle Branch and Colbie Caillat.

MoZella's tale is that of hard work and determination. Moving to the West Coast after graduating high school to pursue music, when things didn’t develop as quickly as she hoped, MoZella found herself decorating cakes by day and performing in coffee shops at night. All her hard work eventually paid off, as she was signed to Madonna’s Maverick Records in 2004. Nearly five years later, MoZella is back with her sophomore release.

"Magic (Oh Oh Oh)," current single off Belle Isle, is a fun track with catchy "oh-oh-oh's" and fitting lyrics. "Went down to the river/To wash all my cares away/Saw a little fish swimming and here's what he had to say/He said, 'Girl don't you know/Life is just so easy when you go with the flow,'" she sings. With upbeat percussion accompaniment and her playful vocals, the listener can't help but believe her.

A pining love story, "Freezing" is a more jazzy and soulful number. The song invokes the pain of lost love with MoZella singing, "The seasons may change/But the ice still remains in my soul/You're so cold." Moving past lost love, "More of You" is an optimistic and soulful track. "So it goes without saying that I'm hooked on you/And by now I'm out of my mind with this self abuse/I guess I should have looked out for myself/I guess that I could have found someone else/But I never met anyone who's love made me so damn crazy." With songs this catchy, MoZella will be a household name in no time.

Must Hear Track: Standout song on MySpace is Motown hit, "I Second That Emotion" with the legendary Smokey Robinson.

Recommended: For fans of Norah Jones, Macy Gray, Duffy, Anya Marina.

Watch MoZella's video for "Magic (Oh Oh Oh)" below.

For more on MoZella, be sure to visit her on MySpace and if you're in New York this week, catch her at CMJ!

Related Links:
Band of the Week: Sherwood
Band of the Week: This Century
Artist of the Week: Glass Pear
Band of the Week: Only Living Boy

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Poll of the Week: What Do You Want To Ask Train?

I'm psyched to be interviewing Train later this week for I haven't stopped listening to their latest single, "Hey, Soul Sister" since my friend Ally recommended it a few weeks ago. (Watch it below). Train has been around for 15 years and their hit songs range from the quirky "Meet Virginia" to the emotive "When I Look To the Sky." Not to mention, they've sold over 4 million albums in the US alone. My bet is you're more familiar with their music than you think.

When interviewing such a notable act, there is so much to ask. Often, too much for a mere 20-minute phoner. So, I want to know what you're interested in reading. Obviously, their upcoming release, Save Me, San Francisco, is one of the topics, but I want to know what you want to learn. I'll post a few subjects below, but feel free to leave your suggestions in the comments. Can't wait to read some of your questions!

My question for this week is: What do you want to ask Train?

The story behind their latest album.
Their longevity as a band.
Inspiration behind the music.
Typical writing process.

Watch their latest music video for single, "Hey, Soul Sister" below.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Q&A with Eren Cannata

Introduced to music at an early age, Eren Cannata, grew up on tour with notable acts like the Beach Boys and Billy Joel. Quite the versatile musician and producer, Cannata was one of 24 students accepted into New York University's Clive Davis Recorded Music program. Not to mention, the song he submitted for his application, “Part of Me” was selected for the "Dawson's Creek" DVD in 2003.

Earlier this year, Cannata released his debut album, Blame It On the City. A diverse mix of emotional ballads and radio friendly tracks with catchy hooks and infectious melodies, Cannata is well on his way. I was lucky enough to sit down and chat with Cannata this past summer when he was opening for Ryan Cabrera. Filling me in on his songwriting process, the advice he has taken from the Beach Boys and Billy Joel and his latest project, E.K. Ink, Cannata proves that hard work and passion pay off.

"What it comes down to is that I’ll take any gig. I love my name being out there. I love playing music and I love being creative. And when people respect that I like doing that, it’s pretty infectious," he said.

Read below for my interview with Eren and be sure to visit him on MySpace and catch a show when he's in town.

You’ve helped produce many albums in the past. How was recording your album different as an artist vs. producer?

Well, my album I took a step back and didn’t produce it, I had my dad produce it. It was great. It allowed me to learn. It was cool too because I got to step back and be really honest with the music and be a songwriter more than anything else. And I do suggest that to a lot of people. I think all of my solo albums are going to be produced by someone else. There’s a nice thing about being a songwriter and stepping back and hearing your songs develop the way someone else hears them.

There are plenty of times where I write a song and I definitely can make it so sad where someone who is listening isn’t intrigued enough because I’m more intrigued about the song. An outside production will say, “Okay, well this is a really sad song, but we’re going to put a really fast drum beat together and see how that sounds.” “Blame It On the City” started out as a ballad. We were in a rehearsal for a show and the drummer was like, “Hey I’ve got this idea for the track.” And I thought it was neat.

That’s my favorite track on the album. What was the inspiration behind it? (Video below)
The whole bit about me is, I feel like I’m a no frills type of person and it’s silly that I write love songs in my friends eyes and in everybody’s eyes. “Blame It On the City” is about a friend of mine who was on the verge of having a nervous breakdown. She was moving to India to try and solve her problems and the only thing I could possibly say to her as a good friend was, “Blame it on something else.” You’re blaming yourself and trying to fix it. Blame it on the laziness of urbanization. Just let it be. That’s what it’s about.

When life gets a little rocky, no matter where you are, it’s not just New York City. It can be in Austin, Texas, it can be LA, as laid-back as it is, you can blame it on LA for being too laid-back. Those feelings are worldwide feelings and everybody has them so I do think it does relate. When I say, “Blame it on Rome” I don’t mean Rome, I mean blame it on the phrase, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” That’s how I felt. Blame it on Rome. Okay, you’re just doing this because you’re in Rome. You don’t have to have people breathing down your throat scrutinizing what you do.

The first song you played tonight, “Other Side,” you have a line where you sing, “I still get embarrassed when I sing.” Is that true?
Yeah, it is. That used to be number six or seven in the set. Now it’s number one because I feel like I need to state, “I still get embarrassed when I sing” right off the bat. I’m extremely comfortable onstage, probably more comfortable onstage than I am right now. In any social setting I’m more comfortable onstage. When it comes down to it, it’s not like I’m writing poems. I’m writing about my life. I never come off and try to be arrogant and say, “This art that I’m doing, I’m doing it this way.” I’m writing little excerpts from my autobiography. Being onstage doesn’t make me feel that way, but singing about those things makes me feel a little embarrassed.

That song especially, is about being with someone where I’m not sure her intentions are right. I need a little reassurance that you’re going to be mine. I keep writing period pieces of what’s going on in my life and they seem to be framed and put into songs and they turn into these big productions when I have to sing them. That song, obviously at a certain point captures how I feel still to this day.

I ask this a lot, because writing is like a diary entry. Do you ever hold back because you’re afraid that person is going to hear it?
It’s sad to say, but I do hold back. I do hold back unfortunately, but it’s not a bad thing. The things that I do hold back are things that I wind up writing about later and I usually get a lot of time. In retrospect, sometimes they really affect me even more, so sometimes it works for the better. After an argument with somebody, I can’t write about how much I hate them. I just can’t do that, especially because I play a lot of shows and they can be there. The thing that comes out of it, which is really good, is that I never forget a moment. Moments that really affect me, I don’t forget. There is something that burns a mark into who I am. I don’t have any regret of anything that I’ve ever done and that’s what I try to write about, period art pieces and things that are going on with me.

You pretty much grew up on tour with your dad while he was playing saxophone for Billy Joel and the Beach Boys. How has that affected your music?
Billy Joel, songwriting alone, just listening to the way he makes stories and poses questions and the way he sings . . . he never had a great voice. I never believed he had a great voice, nobody around him believed he had a great voice. He just had an amazing thing to write about and he always came up with those things. “Piano Man” oh God, why didn’t I think of that? One after another, that’s what I learned from him; the simplicity of ideas. You don’t have to be so complicated, you don’t have to say many words; you just have to be like, “I believe this. This is really cool. Okay, I’m going to write about it.”

As far as the Beach Boys, I spent most time on tour with the Beach Boys. My dad went to the Beach Boys when I was doing music, that’s when I really understood. Honestly, it blew my mind. Carl Wilson was a mentor of mine. May he rest in peace, but he was someone who would take me into his dressing room and teach me how to warm up my voice. He’d be like, “Hey I’m going to sing ‘Good Vibrations’ or ‘God Only Knows,’ I want you to sing the top harmony.” Every concert “God Only Knows” came on or “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” I was standing right next to him onstage just being like, “Man I want to be like him one day.”

The cool thing about him was, he was like,“ You can. There is nothing stopping you. You’re a good person. If you’re a good person, you try really hard and you put your heart into what you’re writing and what you’re doing, you’re going to be fine.” I learned probably most of my valuable lessons from Carl Wilson. He was the glue that kept the Beach Boys together.

Do you remember the moment you decided you want to be involved in music the rest of your life?
There probably is. My dad and I have a recording studio out in Long Island and its called Cove City Sound Studios and that’s where I learned a lot of my musicianship. Obviously, I wasn’t allowed to play onstage on tour. I did play saxophone and tambourine a ton of a lot. My dad taught me saxophone and would be like, “Play this with me.” But really, I played tambourine for both tours. I wasn’t the shining member of the band.

My dad has a studio and a lot of great artists have come — from JLo to Celine Dion to 'N Sync. There is a moment where my first band that I ever had, I thought I was serious. The name of our original band was Loose Cannon. We stayed up until 1 in the morning — wild — for 12-year-olds. We went there and my dad’s like, “I’m going to record your first original song.” And the drummer’s mom called the studio and cursed out my dad. My dad and I had no idea, because that’s the lifestyle. There was a moment there where me and the guitarist, who is still doing music, we’re the only two of our original band still doing music. There was a moment there that we talked about it, saying, “I don’t care what our parents say. This is what we want to do. How does nobody understand that?”

What’s your songwriting process like?
It’s neither here or there. It’s a weird process for me. I have my Blackberry notes filled with random song lyrics. Whether I go back to them and read them or not, is a different story. The song I played tonight, “All My Friends Moved to Brooklyn,” I wrote that while in Brooklyn on the train. Coming back from the train, I’m like “This sucks! I hate Brooklyn.”

I sometimes write lyrics down. I feel like, because of Carl Wilson I’m a real melody based person. I try and keep it really simple, but memorable. Sometimes lyrics come first, sometimes melody, sometimes a guitar part. But, really what it comes down to is that the song comes first. I never think I have a song written until I sit down and play a song. Sometimes I’ll go, “Man, that lyric is really cool. I’m going to write that down.” I’ll put it in my phone, on a piece of paper, I have my notebook. That being said, it doesn’t mean very much. Sometimes those things are never looked at. What it really comes down to is if something sticks with me. I wrote down “All My Friends Moved to Brooklyn” in my phone and when it came down that I really wanted to write something like that, I remembered all the lyrics without looking in my phone. So that said I should write that song. It’s an arbitrary process that just comes together. I try to write every day, but six days a week it’s pretty terrible or I just don’t even think about it.

You’ve produced a lot of tracks for upcoming bands.
I actually just worked on this project for Interscope Records. A girl named Soshy. What it comes down to is that I’ll take any gig. I love my name being out there. I love playing music and I love being creative. And when people respect that I like doing that, it’s pretty infectious. I have a project coming up called E.K. Ink. The engineer for Jim Beans and Timbaland is the K, and I’m the E. It’s a really unique project we have going on. Its half pop-rock, half hip-hop, half electro. It’s half everything. It definitely does not skip any beat that you can possibly ask for. So we do that. He works at the studio and he worked for Ashanti. Ashanti came into the studio and I was like, “You have to put Koil on the session.” Jim Beanz, who is Timbaland’s production guy, was doing the production and was like, “Hey, you want to work for me?” And then Koil was gone. One thing led to another, and now he’s doing all this crazy stuff.

That being said, I’m playing guitar on Timbaland beats, going down to Philly where his studio is and playing bass. It’s a lot of fun because it’s great to step out of the artist world and be someone that someone isn’t like, “Oh, it’s got to be this if it needs to be hit.” When I play something, they’re like, “Oh my gosh it’s live music!” They’re so psyched that I’m playing it live. It makes me feel good, but at the same time it’s really good to be in a position where you can wow them a little bit. It works out.

How would you rather someone hear you first? Live or on the record?
It’s a difficult situation. I feel like I’ve really grown as a writer. My album, I really love and truly believe in it, but at the same time I’m really tired of playing those songs. But, I’m opening for Ryan [Cabrera] tonight, and he’s been playing “On the Way Down” since 2003. I’ve asked him how he does it and he’s like, “If people like it, you’ve got to do it.” What it comes down to is, I would love for people to hear me live first. But, chances are people in South Dakota aren’t going to see me live first. So, there’s only one way they can hear me: MySpace, or buy the album on iTunes or however they get it. The album is in stores, but I don’t think people are doing that unfortunately.

Talking to Ryan, he’s the same way. There’s this type of in the box recording that you have to do for people that don’t understand music like that. There’s a difference from the Brooklyn indie-rock and the pop rock that sells records. It’s difficult for every artist; I’m not going to say it’s just difficult for me. Ryan is an amazing singer and guitar player, but he has to hold back because they want three minutes and 25 seconds of that. I can do eight minutes and 45 seconds, but I can’t do that, so I keep it short to three minutes and 45 seconds.

You can see your passion onstage while performing. You’re constantly smiling and dancing throughout the set.
I never really hold back live. I have no problem calling people out in the audience. I have no problem really loving it being up there.

Do you feel you have to be in love to write a love song or depressed to write a sad song?
No, no, no, no, no, no! You know when you go to the emergency room and they ask you on a scale from 1 to 10, 1 being the smiley face? You don’t have to be at a 1 or at a 10 to write a song. You can be at a three. Sometimes 3 can be worried. It doesn’t have to be sad. You don’t have to be in the extreme of emotions to write that. You have to feel an emotion strongly. Sometimes I feel 5 really strongly. I feel really mediocre right now; this is what I’m going to write about. I’m not crying that my friends moved to Brooklyn, but it makes me sad, I don’t want to talk about it. I like to chit-chat, and that’s what it comes down to. I talk about the things that are going on.

Do you feel a song comes out better when it really happened to you?
Always. 100%. I never really make anything up. That’s something I envy Billy Joel about. He writes songs about fictional characters and events and things that happened. I’m not yet successful in doing that. Maybe one day. I should learn piano.

For more on Eren and his projects visit E.K. Ink and MySpace.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Song of the Week: "Great Expectations"

Last night I witnessed Jersey's own Gaslight Anthem firsthand at a packed Terminal 5 in New York. Definitely the most energetic crowd I have yet witnessed at a concert, fans started a mosh pit even before frontman Brian Fallon sang his first lyric. Performing for over an hour, the band showcased many songs from their most recent and revered release, The '59 Sound as well as older classics from debut album, Sink or Swim and EP, Señor and the Queen.

While the audience showed their appreciation singing word for word, it was the band that looked in awe watching the craziness taking place on the floor as fans crowd surfed and moshed during most of the set. Having performed well over 300 concerts this year alone, the band's current tour is winding down as they work on new material for The '59 Sound's follow up. Rolling Stone reports the release is expected next year as Fallon stated in the issue, "The songs sound like Tom Waits' storytelling and the Clash playing as a band, but with some big Motown-style choruses in there." A must-see act, the Gaslight Anthem have a bright future ahead of them.

Watch the video below for "Great Expectations," and for music and tour dates visit them on MySpace.

Related Links:
Band of the Week: Gaslight Anthem
Five Albums to Prolong Your Summer
All Points West : Music, Mud Wrestling, and Beer Gardens
Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band: Giants Stadium Night One Recap

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Gaslight Anthem Tonight At Terminal 5!

I've been following the Gaslight Anthem for a while now. In fact, it was just around this time last year that I stumbled on their feature in Rolling Stone, realizing I knew one of the members from working on the newspaper, The Daily Targum, together at Rutgers. To say they've blown up since then is an understatement. By far the hardest band to get an interview with or cover, you'd think it would be easier since I know one of the members.

Gaslight Anthem have been selling out venues throughout the US as well as abroad, even sharing the stage with Bruce Springsteen (see video below). I'm psyched to be catching their show tonight with some former Targum friends. A lot has changed since college, that's for sure!

Follow along with me at the show tonight via Twitter.

Related Links:
Band of the Week: Gaslight Anthem
Five Albums to Prolong Your Summer
All Points West : Music, Mud Wrestling, and Beer Gardens
Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band: Giants Stadium Night One Recap

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

John Mayer Debuts Music Video For "Who Says"

Today, John Mayer released the video of latest single, "Who Says" on his YouTube channel. Announcing the video on his Twitter page, Mayer said, "Come spend a night out with my friends and I for three minutes." The video follows Mayer for a night in New York as he plays guitar at a house party, dines at a swanky restaurant and does some stand-up at the Comedy Cellar.

Of the track, in a recent issue of Rolling Stone, Mayer said, "When I sing it, I think about walking around your house naked with a guitar. It's about being in control of the pleasure in your life."

Mayer will perform songs from his upcoming release, Battle Studies, November 17 at the Beacon Theatre in New York, which will be broadcast live on Fuse. Tickets are available to members of Local 83, his fan club, as a thank you for years of dedication.

Watch "Who Says" below, and if you like what you hear, be sure to pick up the album due in stores Nov. 17.

Related Links:
Song of the Week: "Who Says"
John Mayer Tells All At Z100's Z-Lounge
John Mayer, Colbie Caillat and Brett Dennen Impress in New Jersey
Blast From the Past: John Mayer Concert Review on

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Why Benefit To Write Love On Her Arms?

Monica and I have been contacting venues and bands throughout the New York scene in pursuit of our joint benefit concert for the non-profit To Write Love On Her Arms. In between talks with friends and explaining the organization, I thought I'd fill you in on the history of TWLOHA and how I originally discovered it so you get more of a sense why this charity concert is so important to us.

Jamie Tworkowski founded To Write Love on Her Arms (TWLOHA), three years ago when he met a girl who was dealing with depression, addiction, self injury and had attempted suicide. The girl was denied entry at a treatment center in Florida and for five days, he and a group of friends tried to encourage and help her. The girl gave Tworkowski permission to tell her story, which became the To Write Love on Her Arms article featured in Relevant Magazine. To help raise money for her treatment, Jamie began selling T-shirts, which bands like Switchfoot, Paramore and local New Yorkers Lights Resolve wore at concerts, helping to spread the word of TWLOHA.

The Vision
TWLOHA is a non-profit movement dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for those struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury and suicide. TWLOHA exists to encourage, inform, inspire, and also to invest directly into treatment and recovery. For an in-depth interview with Jamie, click here.

I'm not sure exactly how I first heard of TWLOHA. Maybe it was at a Switchfoot concert, could have been MySpace, whatever it was, the message resonated with me. Perhaps it was my desire to change the world with writing meaningful articles, but I tried everything I could to pitch what TWLOHA was doing at two of my internships at the time. While each editor acknowledged their interest in the story, for whatever reason the article never ran.

You can imagine my excitement then, when seeing more being written about TWLOHA in countless publications. The benefit concert is my way of bringing awareness where my unpublished article failed. In the upcoming weeks, in between announcing each performer, I plan on posting my article, one page at a time on You Sing, I Write. While it isn't entirely music related, I hope you'll read it.

Nearly three years ago, I spoke with three college students who dealt with and overcame self mutilation and depression as well as a counselor at Rutgers University and staff member of TWLOHA. While it was written a while back, I think the issues brought up in the article are still relevant today and finally these three stories will be told. Stay tuned.

For more on TWLOHA, visit their Web site. Have you heard of TWLOHA previously? What are your thoughts on the non-profit? What bands have you seen supporting the cause?

Related Links:
Q&A with Switchfoot
Q&A with Jon Foreman
Q&A with Lights Resolve
What Music Do You Want At YSIW's Anniversary Bash?

Monday, October 12, 2009

Band of the Week: The Hollows

Forming just six months ago, The Hollows have been packing venues throughout New York with their roots-based Americana and jam band style of music. The five-piece New York outfit is often accompanied onstage by additional guest performers with instruments as varied as an accordion, trumpet and banjo.

A few weeks ago I caught The Hollows performance at Fat Baby where they played to a standing room only crowd for nearly two hours. For a fairly new band, the fact that they even had enough original material to play for that long is impressive. Fans in attendance could be heard singing along and dancing in what little floor space was available.

While music fans seem to love their music, venues share similar sentiments. Pete's Candy Store newsletter described their music as, "An amalgam of country blues, rockabilly and homespun folk that employs guitar, banjo, mandolin, piano, organ, harmonica, accordion and basses under tightly woven harmonies, carefully crafted melodies and smooth, fluid rhythm."

I couldn't agree more. While songs like "Sticks and Stones" and "Sycamore" have a classic and more rustic vibe, "How To Marry a Millionaire" is a tongue in cheek ballad at first, before the tempo picks up mid-song.

Watch the videos of previous performances below, and if you like what you hear be sure to check out The Hollows tomorrow night at Pete's Candy Store. For more on them, visit MySpace and YouTube.

"How To Marry A Millionaire"

"The Wildlife" and "Sycamore"
If a nine-minute video is too long for you, start at 4 minutes for "Sycamore."

Related Links:
Band of the Week: Sherwood
Band of the Week: This Century
Artist of the Week: Glass Pear
Band of the Week: Only Living Boy

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Poll of the Week: Which Night Would You Prefer the You Sing, I Write Bash?

I've been working with Monica from The Jew Spot the past few weeks on the details to our joint benefit concert for To Write Love On Her Arms. We both didn't realize how difficult booking a venue in New York is compared to New Jersey, but we have our heart set on a New York concert.

While we've narrowed down our possible spot to several locations, what we want to know is what day, if you had the choice, would work best for you. While Fridays and Saturdays are typically the standard, the night all depends on venue availability as well as the bands that we're hoping to come out. Please let us know in this week's poll!

Also, the show will be benefiting one of our favorite non-profits, To Write Love On Her Arms. I've been explaining TWLOHA to many of my friends and recently came across a great interview with the founder here. Be sure to click on the link to read more about how the organization got it's start and for more information, visit their Web site. Now onto this week's poll:

Which night would you prefer the YSIW bash?

Any night

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Saturday Song Addiction

Obviously, if you've read this blog even once you know I love music. And, when I really like a song I tend to listen to it continuously on repeat or make it my ringtone for months (sometimes years, to the chagrin of my close friends and family!)

This weekend I present to you four songs I cannot stop listening to. (Better four then just one, right?) Love to know your thoughts and what songs you can't get out of your head!

"Hey, Soul Sister" by Train

"Fireflies" by Owl City

"Save You" by Matthew Perryman Jones

"Empire State of Mind" by Jay-Z featuring Alicia Keys

Friday, October 9, 2009

Song of the Week: "Fifteen"

CMT debuted the video of Taylor Swift's newest single, "Fifteen" earlier today. Definitely an emotional track, Swift reminisces of her early days of high school, something I think we all can relate to.

Watch the music video for "Fifteen" below. For a chance to win a trip to see Taylor perform and meet her, head on over to

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Mariah Carey Launches Global Mobile and Digital Concert

It's never been done before, so what better artist than Mariah Carey to launch a concert that can be viewed via cell phone and other digital devices worldwide? Saturday, October 10, Carey's performance, "Mariah Carey Live In Las Vegas" will be aired via

Presented by GDE Partners in association with the Island Def Jam Group, the digital broadcast, also available in high definition on October 24, will be delivered through Iviago’s virtual global stage, accessible in over 200 countries via more than 235 mobile and digital partners including iClips and iTunes.

Virtual concert tickets cost $9.99 and are available by texting Mariah to 313131, through Mariah Carey’s official website and Facebook or MySpace page. The concert stream will be sent on the day of the event to anyone who purchases a ticket, and can be viewed right away or saved for future one-time viewing.

Visit or for more information.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Tyrone Wells and Matt Hires Tonight at Highline Ballroom!

Just wanted to fill you in and let you know that I'll be covering Tyrone Wells and Matt Hires tonight at Highline Ballroom. Also, I'll be interviewing Hires after the show, so be sure to let me know if you have any questions to ask!

I've seen Wells perform a few times over the last year and he always puts on a great show. If you're in the area, come out! Tickets are still available online and at the door.

Be sure to follow the show tonight on Twitter.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Backstreet Boys Release Sixth Studio Album, Cancel Appearances Due To Swine Flu

Do you remember the first band you fell in love with? You'd save up every penny of your allowance to see them perform — even camp out overnight for a chance to buy tickets to their show. For me, that band was the Backstreet Boys.

I've been following BSB since the seventh grade and can't count the number of shows I've been to. While my friends are glad to see my music tastes over the years expand, there will always be that little spot for BSB in my heart (I know, so lame!).

Their sixth studio album, This Is Us, was released today and due to Brian Littrell's diagnosis of swine flu, the band have canceled their appearances for the next few days (see video below). Consisting mostly of dance tracks produced by Max Martin, T-Pain, and Ryan Tedder among others, This Is Us, strays from the strong ballads longtime fans know and love.

Perhaps trying to conform to the trend of Auto-Tune and club hits that have been storming the charts as of late, the album is a departure from that classic Backstreet Boys sound. In fact, at times it sounds like they're trying too hard. While This Is Us is far from the boy band days of the 90s, it's their popular ballads of that era I'll continue to remember.

Watch Littrell's video message to fans below.

Did you pick up the new album today? What are your thoughts of it? Who is your favorite band and what's the craziest thing you've done to buy tickets to a show?


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