Saturday, November 30, 2013

Tips to start a Singing Group or Solo Act - part 1

1) Decide if you want to be Musicians or Celebrities.
musicians make music. celebrities make gossip.

when the Beatles were musicians, the media tracked their music.
when the Beatles became celebrities, the media tracked their fights and controversies.

There is nothing wrong with being a celebrity. Pays great. Just be ready
for the extreme emotional ups and downs of being what other people want you to be and not being
able to be yourself.

There is nothing wrong with being a musician. Just be ready for the extreme emotional ups and downs
of very little public reward or recognition.

2) Decide style of music (rock, jazz, pop, contemporary, gospel ...)

3) PRACTICE - expect to sound - not so great - in the beginning. start by singing your favorite songs. Learn the song !! You should be able to make smooth key changes. knowing the song means you know where the melody is going BEFORE it gets there. let's listen to The Zombies - Care of cell 44 . Listen to how effortlesly he changes keys on his vocal. This is a very difficult key change - they really understand the song. please visit the Zombies official web page at:

4) decide if you will be
    a) Solo Act and sing your own background vocals.
    b) Solo Act with background singers or
    c) Harmonization Group (e.g. The Eagles, 38 Special)

a) Solo Act and sing your own background vocals.
Audiences sort of expect that modern day singers will have some form of background singers. even if it means the singers voice is used as a backing track. if your going to provide a proffessional level recording or performance, having background vocals is mandatory.
This style was made popular by several entertainers, most notably the Carpenters. I don't think anyone has been able to produce such sophisticated self backup singing since.

b) solo act with background singers
background singers make songs. let me rephrase that. background singers make the song. Great backup vocals can take a song from sounding below average to sounding like the special songs that we love and enjoy.

c)Harmonization group (e.g. The Eagles, 38 Special)

This one is tough to achieve. If your just starting out. I would suggest - proceed with caution - on this one. different people have different lives, schedules and motivations. Trying to get several different people to keep the same vision, motivation and talent levels, may be a bit much for beginners. If you go this route try to be as flexible as possible with your band mates. Don't try to control band members - try to incorporate their suggestions into decision making. It's too early to pre-define who is the "leader" and who is replaceable. no one is replaceable !!

WE WILL PICK UP WITH PART 2 - IN THE NEAR FUTURE - this topic is too big to cover in 1 blog post.
Until then here's an old one by Maureen Mcgovern called The Morning After.
please visit her official site at:

Monday, August 12, 2013

How to get my music heard

10 tips to get your song heard.

These days we live under many false impressions.   because of the internet we think there is more opportunity to get your songs heard.    but, the opposite is true. there is less opportunity to be heard now.

How can I say that ??
Well I joined the musicians union at age 16. (late 70s/early 80s) - back then, I knew about 40 professional musicians personally - by name.    How many musicians do the average person who has made an Mp3
 know ??  -  probably none.
 People make things happen - not web pages.

To be heard,

        1)     be willing to perform live (this seperates the ARTIST from the hobbyist)
        2)     be willing to travel (you must FIND the right people)
        3)     you MUST work with other people - make friends and keep them.
        4)     be willing to sell merchandise that promotes your music
                                        (when you play live)
        5)     wear your merchandise
    **6)     make a music video on youtube or Vimeo
                           (this is where the internet can be used)
                           (this is VERY EASY now, it's not like in the past,
                                   now you can create one for FREE)
    **7)     at your concert say    "this song is on FREE download on our website"
                    on your website offer FREE passes to upcoming concert -
                      used together,   this builds an audience.

If you can't do the things listed above,  all is not lost.
If you insist on using the internet as your primary vehicle (even though this is not a good move). then you have to be very creative.

        8)       collaborate with everyone possible on the internet.
                            - offer songs for a video game soundtrack.
        9)        use animation sequences to overlay with your own
                           sound track ( a.k.a. anime)
                           for Vimeo or  other share media sites.
      10)       I saved this for last because it should be done last.   
                  Put  your songs on music sites.
                  This should be done last because people are
                  OVER-RELYING on this method.      its not enough  !!  
                  Try to find sites that have remote players so other websites can
                  "pipe in" your music.
                  AND that offer a back link to your "home" web page.

It's a tough rode now (it was easier years ago).   Here's a little song to inspire you on to success...

it's by:                     Boy Meets Girl
and it's called:         Catch a falling star

Monday, July 1, 2013

What makes a good song ?

Well you have tangibles and intangibles ( definable , UNdefinable)

tangibles:      genre (pop , country , soul...)
intagibles:      you  (what makes you unique, desire, star quality)

if the song was created and performed properly - your
essence (experiences,   personality) will be captured inside the song - just like a

This is most easily accomplished by the singer songwriter   because
they have absolute control over the songs creation and performance.

This is more difficult for a band - for many reasons (that's for
a different blog). when singer songwriters write songs, their songs fit
like a glove.

lets look a 2 artists who "had it all together".  
                   Nicolette Larson and Paul Davis.

Artist:                     Nicolette Larson
Official Website:
Song:                    Lotta love

what do you think this song says about this artist ??

what vocal qualities stand-out ??

Artist:                   Paul Davis
Official Website:
Song:                   Cool Night

if you had to say what these songs reflect about each artist, what's
your guess ??

For me,
       Paul Davis - cool night  =  southern gentleman
       Nicollete Larson - lotta love = innocente but adventurous
what do you think ??

Saturday, June 22, 2013

What Happens When the Music Stops

This blog is about online music sites - that have shut down.
These sites were devoted to local UNsigned artists.   a.k.a. Indie music
I want to mention 3 sites:,,  was an indie music site in japan. it had about 4000 artist, of which
about 1,500 were from the U.S. - all talented.
1) these are 4,000 artists who you will never hear. was a U.S. indie music site with maybe 2,000 artists. Here the
owners did everything right.     you might ask - how can someone do everything right
and everything turn out wrong ?     well, that is another blog for another day - trust me - it can happen.
2) - the majority of these artists will probably throw in the towel, stop trying.  and get a "real job".
      Well,  "real jobs" cause "real frustrations".        just what we need - more frustrated people.    was a fantastic indie music site with around 1,000 artists. all talented.

3)    ever felt kinda down, listened to a song and it made you feel better ?
                   what does it mean not to have that anymore ?

believe it or not, i've seen birds hear human music - and start dancing. why ???
i've seen dogs hear people singing, and the dog starts trying to sing with them - no kidding.

i don't know what will happen will the music stops. i only know that we won't be able
to dance to it.
here's one 4 the road...

MV "The Wall" by Jerry Shen ft. Seanna Guillemin from Jerry Shen on Vimeo.