June 2017

Posh Band at W Hotel
June 16, 2017

We Chatted With POSH, House Band at the W Guangzhou’s Fei Club

by admin

At Fei Club at the W Guangzhou, style and music are synonymous. There’s a certain je ne sais quoi about this hotel, and you can tell as soon as you...

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At Fei Club at the W Guangzhou, style and music are synonymous. There’s a certain je ne sais quoi about this hotel, and you can tell as soon as you walk through their doors. It’s sexy, smooth and timeless. And adding to that pizzazz is POSH, resident band at Fei Club.

Hailing from various backgrounds but joined in musical forces for their compatibility and desire to make good music, the foursome perform a top 40 repertoire that is smart, well-polished and cheeky – loaded with more riffs than you can fit into the trunk of a Camaro.

In the spirit of sharing the love, we at That’s got the chance to chat with the guys and gal from POSH.

Bernard Ferrier – Keyboard
Marlon Smith – Drums
Luke Fellone – Singer
Kristina Bielichenko – Singer 

Posh Band at W HotelWhat makes POSH so… posh?
Our style, our look, our vibe. We’re upscale, upbeat and know quality when we see it. Oh, and we can sing and dance too!

You’re all transplants. How and when did you all meet?
Here in Guangzhou! We all came together to perform, and we love the city. Its green, the food is great, and the shopping is just phenomenal.

What artists would you not want to live without?
Bruno Mars, Bob Marley, Beyonce, Stevie Wonder and Justin Timberlake. We live and breathe these icons. We do lots of Top 40, anything from RnB and dance to soft rock and Latin. We’re so diverse, yet we bring it all together on stage and it’s so seamless. Come and see for yourself…

What does your warm-up routine look like?
We meet 15 minutes before, and its a lot of oohing and aahing, and rolling of our tongues. We do rudimentary workouts to get us all in the mood and ready for a few solid hours of rocking the dance floor.

Which musical bigwig would you bed, if given the opportunity?
James Franco and Rihanna, in a heartbeat.

Are you friends off the stage? 
Yes! We do dinners, BBQ’s, trips to explore the city… did we say dinners? We also mean drinks!

Quick Few for the Road…

Drink of choice? 
Long Island ice tea! It’s just tea, after all!

Go-to party trick? 
Pulling the audience on stage and pouring tequila straight from the bottle in their mouths. They love it.

Favorite song to get everyone going? 
‘Give Me Everything Tonight,’ by Pitbull, Ne-Yo and Afrojack. Always a hit with the ladies!

POSH play at Fei from Mondays to Saturdays, from 10pm till 1.40am. 

Source: thatsmags.com

August 2016

August 18, 2016

Musicians Wanted: It’s time to get a gig, for real!

by el-live Productions

The odd One Nighter ain’t gonna add much to your experience if music is supposed to be your profession, so get out of town, get on an airplane and play music till you drop. We el-live Productions are programming new bands and we need talents of all instruments

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Haven’t you always wanted a full time job performing live music overseas and getting paid for it? el-live Productions takes care of every aspect of your journey from travel to accommodations. If you’re a Male/Female singers, Drummers, Keyboardists, Guitarists, Horn or Bass players looking to perform with a great live band and travel the world, this opportunity is for you. We el-live Productions are programming new bands and we need talents of all instruments:

+ Male/female singers
+ Drummers
+ Guitarists
+ Keyboard players
+ Horn players
+ Bassists

At el-live Productions we pay for everything, that’s right, everything, airlines, hotels, food, the whole shebang. All you have to do is “PLAY MUSIC – TRAVEL – SAVE MONEY”

As one of our musicians said, “I don’t have to worry about S#$%T, it’s music music music all day, all week, all year and that’s exactly what I’ve always wanted”

It costs nothing to check us out, nearly 100 musicians are on stage right now doing what they love in the most amazing places on planet earth, musicians should be playing music, PERIOD. 

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Your Instruments

August 2016

August 2, 2016

el-live Productions 8th Birthday Anniversary

by el-live Productions

We are 8 years old, thanks to our amazing artists, our partners that operate the world’s most prestigious hotels and of course our dedicated live music lovers that keep on coming out to enjoy the magic of music.

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We are 8 years old, thanks to our amazing artists, our partners that operate the world’s most prestigious hotels and of course our dedicated live music lovers that keep on coming out to enjoy the magic of music.

Lot’s can happen in a span of 12 months, last year we have established our production center in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) where all of our artists come to our head office for training and orientation,

As well we have started rolling out our non stop entertainment concept at selected venues, it is evident that live music is still as exciting and as relevant as ever,

We are blessed and grateful.
It’s good to be el-live
el-live.com

May 2016

May 17, 2016

el-live’s Steel band on The City Times of UAE

by el-live Productions

Want to hear one of the best covers bands in the UAE? Tucked away in a little bolthole called Paco's at the Hilton Al Ain, Steel play their music every night. This American, Canadian and Cuban conglomeration of musicians is absolutely brilliant.

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el-live’s Steel band on The City Times of UAE. Where will you be partying this weekend?  Head on to Paco’s tonight at the Hilton Al Ain , every night is Saturday night. This is how they write about us:

“Want to hear one of the best covers bands in the UAE? Tucked away in a little bolthole called Paco’s at the Hilton Al Ain, Steel play their music every night. This American, Canadian and Cuban conglomeration of musicians is absolutely brilliant. Close your eyes and you’d be convinced Amy Winehouse  was up on stage during some of the numbers, the imitation is s authentic. 

The band plays all your favourites throuhg the night, so if you’re in the mood for something familiar, head down and try it out.”

September 2015

September 8, 2015

el-livester’s party in Saigon

by admin

28 of our artists before they fly on to their next gig. There is enough talent around this table to fill a million hearts with the gift of music.It's good to be el-live.

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28 of our artists before they fly on to their next gig. There is enough talent around this table to fill a million hearts with the gift of music.It’s good to be el-live.

July 2015

July 21, 2015

el-live Productions 7th Anniversary

by admin

We are celebrating our 7th anniversary. We want to thank you our customers for our continued success and we will continue to deliver to you high quality live bands. We also want to thank you our artists for your dedication and hard work. Our success is directly related to your amazing work, talent and tremendous effort.

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We are celebrating our 7th anniversary. We want to thank you our customers for our continued success and we will continue to deliver to you high quality live bands. We also want to thank you our artists for your dedication and hard work. Our success is directly related to your amazing work, talent and tremendous effort. 

July 2014

6th year anniversary
July 15, 2014

el-live Productions 6th Anniversary Message

by admin

We are celebrating our 6th anniversary. We are the largest live bands company in South East Asia, Far East Asia, and the Middle East. We are grateful & proud, thank you to our amazing customers and fantastic team.

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We are celebrating our 6th anniversary. We are the largest live bands company in South East Asia, Far East Asia, and the Middle East. We are grateful & proud, thank you to our amazing customers and fantastic team.

We are musicians that love music and love to perform live. We are truly a global company, our artists, musicians and employees are from every corner of the world and we have offices in Hong Kong, Vietnam, Taiwan, and Canada.

From one band to the largest provider of international live-bands in South East Asia and the United Arab Emirates, and it’s all thanks to you, our amazing artists, dedicated fans, and loyal customers.

We couldn’t be prouder of our latest addition, the hippest and the slickest trios and quartets. This is not your usual long gown, big hair kind a-thing. This is a reinvention and modernization of your intimate venues. If Justin Timberlake brought sexy back, we’re bringing hipness back, because we never lost sexy.

As far as our larger, bombastic bands, well, let’s just say that they’re killin’ it and rippin’ it all the way from Abu Dhabi to Beijing. Nuf said.

It is wonderful to have you with us, and it sure is good to be el-live.

November 2013

Tet and firework in Saigon
November 8, 2013

Taking advantage of being on tour by absorbing the culture

by admin

3,2,1 Chuc Mung Nam Moi or in English Happy New Year! A beautiful firework display over the Saigon River can be seen from all over. I, Julianne Costa, a female singer with el-live Productions am lucky enough to have spent 2 Lunar New Years in Vietnam. The first year, I was just a tourist walking around the beautiful Nguyen Hue flower street.

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3,2,1 Chuc Mung Nam Moi or in English Happy New Year!

A beautiful firework display over the Saigon River can be seen from all over. I, Julianne Costa, a female singer with el-live Productions am lucky enough to have spent 2 Lunar New Years in Vietnam. The first year, I was just a tourist walking around the beautiful Nguyen Hue flower street. During Lunar New Year or “Tet” as it is called in Vietnam. Millions of people crowd to this street to see rare flowers brought from all over Vietnam in a shape of that years celebrated theme. It is very special celebration, but coming from Los Angeles crowds of people reminds me of the 405 and 101 interchange, and I look for the first exit out of there.

An authentic celebration

For my 2nd “Tet” I spent it with some local friends of mine in their families village. Talk about an experience! When I arrived at my friend’s home I was greeted with warm smiles, welcoming hugs and complete generosity. A one bedroom home raised a kindhearted family of 9 well rounded people. With no kitchen table or chairs they promptly set out 2 long plastic table cloths on the floor…. this was our dinner table. A glass of beer with ice was placed in my hand. “Mot, Hai, Ba, Dzo!” (meaning 1,2,3 CHEERS!) everyone shouted! As they do not have a refrigerator ice is a special treat they buy for this day.

Vietnamese traditional food in Tet holiday

After being there for several hours, and many “Mot, Hai, Ba, Dzo’s” later a washroom is needed! A wild chicken flapping around had moved into the restroom and scared the daylights out of my friend and drummer. Laughter erupted in the room! Tons of local dishes immediately followed. Black chicken, Mango shrimp salad, rice balls, cabbage, spring rolls, pork spread, pho, and because they knew a westerner was coming… french fries all covered our “table”. The food was so delicious and spicy!

The spirit of giving

I was so moved by the happy giving spirit of these people. When I asked what I could bring for the celebration they said to bring nothing. I learned that they work from 6:30 am to 11pm everyday for an equivalent of 5 USD a day. The family told me for this work and pay they are grateful. They have everything they need. It hit me then how much money it must have costed them to feed and drink my friends and I. As we left their home the mother held my hand giving me her toothless smile wishing me a year of luck, prosperity, and health. My heart filled with love and wishing to meet these people again someday.

Happiness is a journey, not a destination

On the car ride home I had this thought. I did not feel sorry for these people whom had so little because they were truly happy. This kind of happiness and generosity I had never seen before. Why is it that we live in a world of always needing more? Why is it that… wherever we are in our lives is just a stepping stone, and not truly embracing our life as it is in that moment? Could it be that if we live in a world where happiness is not where you are going, but where you are that peace is there? Maybe as we think of this coming Lunar New Year we can reach into our hearts, homes and pockets a little more and need a little less.

Until next month,
Julianne Costa
a.k.a
White Bread

November 2013

Music Journal book
November 1, 2013

The importance of the practice journal

by el-live Productions

One of the most common challenges for musicians and singers of all levels is the ability to sustain growth and continued improvement on their chosen instrument. How do you stay creative and get better in the midst of the daily grind of performances, rehearsals and even the occasional partying?

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One of the most common challenges for musicians and singers of all levels is the ability to sustain growth and continued improvement on their chosen instrument. How do you stay creative and get better in the midst of the daily grind of performances, rehearsals and even the occasional partying? It’s a situation that requires some attention to time management and, most of all, discipline.

October 2013

The Hairdresser and customer
October 24, 2013

The hairdresser

by admin

Having lived in the same city for the last three years, I've found one of the many challenges to be finding a good hairdresser. I call it my mojo and I’m very particular about it...

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Having lived in the same city for the last three years, I’ve found one of the many challenges to be finding a good hairdresser. I call it my mojo and I’m very particular about it.

hair dresser

The honeymoon phase
My keyboard player recommended his hairdresser. So I made an appointment to see her, let’s call her Mary. At first Mary did a wonderful job, but over the course of time, her attention to detail waned. She talked on her phone while she cut my hair, chatted with other staff and stopped midway to attend to other clients. I became less and less satisfied with her work.

There are plenty of fish in the sea…
One day I woke up and decided I really needed a haircut. When I arrived I was informed by one of the other hairdressers, let’s call him Lee, that Mary was off today. I was desperate for a haircut and thought why not give Lee a chance. He said “I’ve watched Mary do it many times Mike”, he knew my name?, “and I can try.” Lee was out to prove himself and I received a great haircut. He’s my new hairdresser.

Nobody is irreplaceable
Now how does this relate to what we do every night at work? “Take care of your customers or somebody else will.” It’s that simple. You don’t make them feel good when they come out to see you? They’ll end up going somewhere else to find someone who can.

Thanks for reading and see you next month.

– Mike O’Reilly

October 2013

Apple Heart bite
October 17, 2013

3 examples that will make you think before you do anything

by admin

The other day I needed to write something and I asked my 10 year old son to find me a paper and pen. Of course he got up right away and handed me a paper and a pencil even though he would have rather stayed on the couch and play his iPad.

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The other day I needed to write something and I asked my 10 year old son to find me a paper and pen. Of course he got up right away and handed me a paper and a pencil even though he would have rather stayed on the couch and play his iPad.

As I started to write I realized that the pencil was very dull and it needed sharpening. Not knowing where the sharpeners were, I asked him again to please sharpen the pencil for me, which, of course, he got up and did. As I started to write I realized that the pencil was a bit dull still, so I sat there staring at this pencil thinking about life and the many people I have worked with in my 48 years of life, even thinking of myself NOT in my best moments.

I sat there for over 5 minutes and as I looked my beautiful son’s face, I said “Julian, turn your iPad off and come here please. I asked you to sharpen this pencil,” and he said “But daddy I did.” I replied “No, you sort of did but not really because it’s very unpleasant to use, and it’s not sharp. Please finish the job.” He took the pencil, put it in the sharpener and made exactly two turns, after which the pencil was beautifully sharpened. As he looked at it he realized the difference between kind of sharpened and truly sharpened and he looked at me with a mischievous but somewhat embarrassed smile. I figured this was a perfect opportunity to give him what I hoped to be a life shaping father to son talk.

A Macbook AC plug, the epitome of attention to detail

A Macbook AC plug, the epitome of attention to detail. Whoever is behind this ain’t no slacker.

The Apple way:

All my friends and all the artists at el-live Productions that know me well know that I am an Apple junkie. I just love everything Apple. I remember when I bought my first Macbook Pro, I just loved the box, the whole experience of unwrapping it. You could see the love and care and meticulous attention paid to just the packaging. Then I got to the electrical plug. I was completely knocked out, and was amazed at how smooth and efficient the edges open so you can wrap the wire around it. To top it all off, There was a little clip so the wire could be fastened in place.
Someone made that extra effort to give me that experience. It’s no wonder people line up for days to buy Apple products.

Love him or hate him:

Donald Trump knows a thing or two about real estate. According to Mr. Trump the difference between a very luxurious building and just an average one is about 20%. He says that the foundation, steel, plumbing, etc……. the fundamentals, are exactly the same. What makes a normal building luxurious? Slap some marble on it, put a couple of very expensive water falls near the entrance to the lobby, install nice kitchen counters. Whatever that 20% is, pay extreme attention to detail and first be proud of a beautiful job. Of course it doesn’t hurt that Donald Trump can sell his apartments sometimes for 500 times the price of his competitors.

It applies to everything:

As singers, drummers, keyboardists, whatever it is that you do, learn your material well. “Baby I love you,” is not the same as “Baby I like you.” It’s important that we apply ourselves to every minute detail of your craft. When working on drums for a song, learn the exact drum part. If you move the kick drum by an 8th note, you just played another song, because often that’s the difference between song A and song B, just one 8th note. Dedicated musicians have a very difficult time respecting slackers, and who can blame them?

Many times the difference between good and great is just 2 more turns of the pencil.

Thank you for reading. It’s good to be el-live.

G.

Oh wait! Don’t forget to like and mingle with over 21K artists on our fan page!

October 2013

safe traveling
October 11, 2013

Staying safe while on tour

by admin

Women, as a collective are stronger and more confident than ever. We need not fear traveling alone. Carpe Diem Baby! In the words of Helen Keller, “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” Armed with the right information we can begin our adventure with conviction and enthusiasm. I have compiled advice from fellow female singers currently on the road of ways to stay safe while on tour.

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Women, as a collective are stronger and more confident than ever. We need not fear traveling alone. Carpe Diem Baby! In the words of Helen Keller, “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” Armed with the right information we can begin our adventure with conviction and enthusiasm. I have compiled advice from fellow female singers currently on the road of ways to stay safe while on tour.

keep calm and have a safe trip

Being on tour is a life-changing experience, but your personal safety is an essential element of your adventure’s abroad.

Staying Safe

1. The more you look lost and out of place the more of a target you become. As you think about making the shift overseas to sing, you first must find a reputable company to do that with. When I made the big jump I joined el-live productions. I had a family of people looking out for me, telling me what cab companies to trust, how much things should cost, common scams, where not to drink the water etc… knowing the ins and outs of where you are going will help you blend in and not look out of place.

2. Be smart and tuck your smart phones away. If you value your smartphone buy an inexpensive/disposable phone to use on the streets or in public areas. Moral of the story… Don’t tempt the unwanted.

3. We have all heard the saying, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” the same holds true for keeping all your valuables in your purse. Example: All Your Money or Your Passport (have a photocopy not the real deal). That way, if by chance your purse does get swiped.. all they will be getting is some lipstick and a hair brush! That’ll teach ‘em!

4. If you are having a night out on the town… travel with a buddy! This is way more fun and safe.

5. Have the phone number of your employer, local hospital or clinic and your countries embassy saved on your phone and in your head.

6. Trust your instincts. If you are feeling nervous or unsure about your safety leave wherever you are. You are probably right.

Most female singers on tour are not only talented but also beautiful. We command attention by our basic existence. We are already being watched/admired which means we must be more mindful. Follow these simple and common safety steps so you can have the most enjoyable time of your life.

Well Ms. Helen Keller… I choose a daring adventure rather than nothing. What about you?

White Bread
aka
Julianne Costa

October 2013

Joni Mitchell
October 3, 2013

Outstanding women in music – Part 2

by admin

I’m afraid I have opened a door to a vast and diverse collection of truly amazing and gifted artists and performers here. In my research, I have found so many women that I believe should be acknowledged in their field, that it has become increasingly difficult to narrow the number down to a mere 12.

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Joni Mitchell

Roberta Joan Anderson, or, as she is famously known, Joni Mitchell, is possibly the most influential female recording artist of the late 20th century. A self-described “painter derailed by circumstance,” the Canadian-born musician, singer songwriter has amassed a staggering body of work that spans five decades. Known for her open-tuned guitar and piano driven compositions, Joni’s distinctive, wide-ranging vocals and brilliant, poetic lyrics propelled her career and helped define the generation and era that moved the world through the 60’s and early 70’s.

She started out doing small nightclubs in Saskatchewan, soon thereafter moving to Toronto where she played mostly dives and busked the streets. Joni moved to the US in 1965, and her early original work drew enough interest to get her signed to a record label. Her first release was in 1968, but it was the 1971 recording, “Blue”, with its arresting and understated beauty, that marked the beginning of her ascension to greatness.

Throughout her career, Mitchell remained musically adventurous, and explored many genres, most notably jazz, which heightened the complexity of her songs both rhythmically and harmonically. She designed all her album artwork, and is credited as sole producer on much of her music.

Roberta Flack

Born in North Carolina and raised in Arlington, Virginia, Roberta Flack started playing the piano at age 9. By age 15, she was awarded a full music scholarship to Howard University based on her classical piano prowess, and became one of the youngest students ever to enroll there. Coming from a musical family (her mother, Irene, was a church organist), Roberta soon changed her major from piano to voice and went on to become assistant conductor of the university choir and was honored for her “outstanding work in promoting music education.”

In her early 20’s, Flack worked as a school teacher and private piano tutor in Washington, D.C. while working local area clubs on evenings and weekends. She was discovered by Les McCann while singing in a Washington nightclub, accompanying herself on mostly jazz and pop numbers. Roberta’s voice is pure and distinctive and her smooth R&B sound was a mainstay on pop radio during the 70’s, during which time she had four #1 hits and won multiple Grammy awards.

Notably, she recorded several hit duets with the late Donny Hathaway, including the Grammy-winning “Where Is The Love” and “The Closer I Get To You”. Roberta Flack holds a special in music history as royalty in the Jazz, Soul and R&B genres.

Aretha Franklin

By the end of the 60’s, Aretha Franklin was acclaimed as the “Queen of Soul”. To date, she has recorded over 80 hit singles and has won 18 Grammy Awards. Born in Memphis, Tennessee, she began her career as a child singing gospel music in Detroit, Michigan, in her father’s church throughout the 50’s, and went on to become the first female performer to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Aretha’s signature hits include “Respect”, “A Natural Woman” and “Think”, although her first song to chart on Billboard’s top 100 was “Won’t Be Long” from her debut album for Columbia records.

Through her career, she has been associated with Columbia, Atlantic, Arista, RCA and J.V.B. records, all of whom enjoyed successes with her songs. In Rolling Stone Magazine’s all-time lists, she appears at number 9 in Greatest Artists of All Time, and at number 1 in the Greatest Singers of All Time. There aren’t enough superlatives to aptly describe Aretha Franklin. Her piano playing was very much underrated, and her voice will endure as a force beyond compare in Gospel, Soul and R&B music.

Peggy Lee

Peggy Lee was born Norma Delores Egstrom in 1920 in North Dakota, the seventh of eight children. By her early teens, she was singing professionally on local radio and at 17, left home to move to Los Angeles. Early in her career, she opted to “compete with the noisy crowd with subtlety rather than volume” and developed her trademark vocal sound. Lee had remarkable talent, and was an accomplished singer, songwriter, actress and composer. Her impact on the Big Band and Swing eras is unquestioned, and her smoky, sultry vocal quality set her apart from the singers at the time. She shot to fame in 1942, when her hit song, “Why Don’t You Do Right?” sold a million copies.

Her most famous song is the immortal “Fever”. “Miss Peggy Lee”, as she was affectionately called, won 3 Grammy Awards, A Lifetime Achievement Award, and was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1999. She not only wrote music and sang for Disney’s “Lady And The Tramp”, but performed four parts in the movie. Frank Sinatra said of her, “Her regal presence is pure elegance and charm.”

I’m afraid I have opened a door to a vast and diverse collection of truly amazing and gifted artists and performers here. In my research, I have found so many women that I believe should be acknowledged in their field, that it has become increasingly difficult to narrow the number down to a mere 12. We will continue this journey, however, and uncover as many of these wonderfully gifted ladies as we can.

Thank you for visiting

Greg Lassalle

September 2013

September 27, 2013

5 things that can get you a job as a professional traveling musician

by admin

At el-live Productions we have the unique luxury of reviewing applicants from all over the world, whether you’re a female singer or bassist that happens to be looking for a job and have a dream of traveling while doing what you love best and that is to be a full time working musician.

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At el-live Productions we have the unique luxury of reviewing applicants from all over the world, whether you’re a female singer or bassist that happens to be looking for a job and have a dream of traveling while doing what you love best and that is to be a full time working musician.

September 2013

Max Roach The Drummer
September 12, 2013

Take a stand

by admin

Experts in the study of body language believe that between 50 to 93 percent of the way we communicate with each other is nonverbal. That means things like posture, facial expressions and physical gestures are saying just as much, if not more, than the actual words you’re speaking.

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Experts in the study of body language believe that between 50 to 93 percent of the way we communicate with each other is nonverbal. That means things like posture, facial expressions and physical gestures are saying just as much, if not more, than the actual words you’re speaking.

Another way to look at it is the three V’s:

1. Verbal – This is the content, the words. In music this would be the notes, chords and lyrics of a song.

2. Vocal – This is how you sound when you speak. In music, your tone, the timbre of your instrument or your voice.

3. Visual – This of course is how you look while you’re performing onstage.

Great musicians and entertainers are no stranger to this concept. When I was studying jazz in university, this was the farthest thing from my mind.

Legendary advice

Recently I came across an article in Guitar Player Magazine written by session guitarist Carl Verheyen. He recalls, early on in his career, getting to play with drummer and jazz legend Max Roach. On a break between sets backstage, hoping to get some musical insight or advice on his playing, Max’s only words of advice were “You gotta work on your stance man”.

Max Roach the Drumm

“A very small percentage of the listeners out there realize you’ve just played a flat 9 on a major seventh chord and made it work. For most people it’s an emotional feeling they come away with”

Max then goes on and talks about the way Charlie Parker balanced his alto saxophone on his belly while ripping solos, John Coltrane intensely leaned into the microphone and Dizzy pointed his trumpet up towards the ceiling. “A very small percentage of the listeners out there realize you’ve just played a flat 9 on a major seventh chord and made it work. For most people it’s an emotional feeling they come away with” Max Roach, Guitar Player Magazine March 2013 by Carl Verheyen.

Having enjoyed numerous concerts over the years, some of my most vivid memories are not only of how the artists sounded on stage but also of the visual impact of their performances. Mike Stern standing in place as he rocked his knees in time while playing blazing solos, B.B. King’s sheer presence when he first walked out onstage, Sade’s understated onstage sensuality, Buddy Rich playing most of his concert with a very serious look on his face that said “I came to play the drums and I’m not here to mess around.” Maybe you have a similar concert experience that’s left a lasting impression and would like to share here. I would love to hear about it.

Until then thanks for reading and see you next month.

Mike O’Reilly

September 2013

female packing tip for treaveling
September 6, 2013

5 things every female singer should know while packing for tour

by admin

The dreaded nightmare of women everywheThe dreaded nightmare of women everywhere...What to pack! Since I have been singing overseas with el-live Productions for the past few years I have learned a thing or two. Here are a few tips for female vocalist whom are about to leave on tour. Men should abruptly stop reading unless you too care about bras, tampons, and shoes.

Read more...

The dreaded nightmare of women everywhere…What to pack! Since I have been singing overseas with el-live Productions for the past few years I have learned a thing or two. Here are a few tips for female vocalist whom are about to leave on tour. Men should abruptly stop reading unless you too care about bras, tampons, and shoes. Now down to the nitty gritty and real for us girls. Going to Asia? This means tiny beautiful women, tiny beautiful feet, and tiny beautiful clothes.

lady packing clothes full our of the suitcase

“Clothes are not as easy to find in larger sizes.”

“I’m not an XL!”

Don’t take it personal. Medium size in America is Large or Extra Large in Asia. If you wear size medium or above, shop at home for clothes including bras and panties to keep you comfortable for a couple of months. Clothes are not as easy to find in larger sizes.

“Did you just call me Big Foot?”

“NO SIZE!” that is what any shoe store attendant will say when they see a “Big Foot” walk in. If your shoe size is larger than is 38 UK or 8 ½ US shop at home! Spend money on your shoes because you will need them to last you. If it is your first time wearing high heels on a regular basis buy good ones. Trust me.

In the words of Michael Jackson, “It don’t matter if you’re Black or White”

This is so true except when it comes to hair and makeup! If your skin tone is very fair or very dark bring your own makeup. You can find most common brands, but the colors may be limited depending on the country. Bring extra of your color so you have time to hunt if you need to. If your hair is weaved it might be hard to find someone to upkeep it. Wigs are always an easy fix to this common problem.

“Ugh it’s that time of the month again”

If you are sensitive to what brand Tampons or pads you use… bring it. If you use a particular kind of birth control… bring it. Some countries only carry their version of these things. If your body is sensitive… bring your own.

“What do I do now? They do not have my prescription!”

Do not assume that with a doctor’s prescription you will be able to go to a pharmacy and get your medicine. If you have any ailments which need to be maintained inform your doctor before leaving home. Bring enough to last you through your contract.

These are just a few things I wish someone had told me before I came on tour overseas. Now it is time to PACK AWAY ladies!

Until next time,
Julianne

August 2013

August 27, 2013

Outstanding women in music – Part 1

by admin

Born in Hamamatsu, Japan, Hiromi Uehara (“Hiromi”) rose to international prominence just after 2000. Classically trained on ...

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Hiromi Uehara

Born in Hamamatsu, Japan, Hiromi Uehara (“Hiromi”) rose to international prominence just after 2000. Classically trained on piano since age 5, she was introduced to jazz a few years later and by age 14, she performed with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra. Hiromi is a blend of dazzling technique, high energy performance and brilliant virtuosity. She is an accomplished composer who spent several years writing jingles for Nissan in Tokyo.

Chick Corea met her when she was only 17, and, after a brief introduction and a short session playing together, invited her to perform in concert with him the very next day. Her music is a heady blend of jazz fusion, classical, post bop and progressive rock and she has has emerged as one of the brightest stars of jazz piano during the last decade.

Esperanza Spalding

Getting her introduction to jazz at 8 years old from accompanying her mother to jazz guitar classes and eventually learning and performing the same material, Esperanza is a true musical prodigy. Imagine, if you will, a five year old self taught violinist going on to spend ten years with the Chamber Music Society of Oregon. Born of an African American father and a Hispanic/Welch/American Indian mother, she grew up in Portland, where she discovered the bass while attending the Northwest Academy, a well known high school for the performing arts.

Her first gig was at a blues club when she was 15, and by the time she was 18 she got a full scholarship to Berklee College of Music. Spalding is also possessed of a beautiful voice and is an accomplished singer and composer with a great affinity for Brazilian music. She has been the recipient of many accolades, including 3 Grammy awards and a Soul Train Music award. Her music is engaging and has been described as having a “sophisticated intimacy”.

India Arie

India Arie Simpson, born in Denver, Colorado, is a stunning artist on just about every level. She brings a combination of beautiful voice and great songs, grace, poise and a true sense of majesty to her presence. Her mother moved the family to Atlanta when India was thirteen and it was there at the Savannah College of Art and Design that she began her journey of songwriting and soul searching with the guitar as her instrument of transport.

In the late 90’s she co-founded Groovement Earthshare, an independent music collective for area artists and her song on the compilation that was released locally landed her a spot in the 1998 Lilith Fair. She was signed to Motown records in 1999 and went on to be nominated an amazing 21 times for Grammy Awards, of which she has won four. India continues to make great meaningful music and her breakout album, “Acoustic Soul”, stands as one of the finest debuts of all time.

Diane Warren

No matter who you are, if you’re reading this, you’ve sung along or hummed or made love to one or more of Diane Warren’s songs. This prolific songwriting legend has amassed an astounding list of hits dating all the way back to 1983’s “Solitaire”, by Laura Branigan. Diane is the youngest of three girls and was born in Van Nuys, California. She holds the distinction of being the only songwriter ever to have seven hits on the singles chart at the same time, all by different artists! She was inducted into the Songwriters Hall Of Fame in 2001 and has been described as “the most important songwriter in the world.”

Warren has won every award available for songwriting many times and is said to lead a life focused entirely on her art. “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now” (Starship), “Unbreak My Heart” (Toni Braxton), “How Do I Live” (LeAnn Rimes), “Because You Loved Me” (Celine Dion), “Don’t Want To Miss A Thing” (Aerosmith) and “For You I Will” (Monica) are but a few of her mega hits. A self professed cynic regarding romance, Diane has never married and to this day avoids collaboration, preferring to write alone.

The list of artists for whom she has penned songs is extraordinary, and includes Elton John, Bryan Adams, Barbra Streisand, Whitney Houston, Aretha Franklin, Patti Labelle, N Sync, Enrique Iglesias, Ricky Martin, Faith Hill and Mary J. Blige. For the past three decades, Diane Warren’s songs have sold more than the Beatles, Elton John and Elvis combined.

In writing this piece, I quickly discovered that I would need more than one post to begin to cover enough of the great women in music over the years. For part one of this series, I have covered artists that also compose their music. We will cover the great voices in an upcoming post. There are many more to come, four at a time, so stay tuned as we explore the world of great women in music.

Thank you for visiting

Greg Lassalle

August 2013

Julianne plays with Parrots
August 15, 2013

Throw your hat over the wall

by admin

Traveling the world and doing it through music was a lifelong dream of mine, and el-live was my ticket to make that come true. While doing some soul searching I remembered this old Irish saying, “Throw your hat over the wall” meaning if you really want something make the commitment and go.

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My name is Julianne Costa, and I have been touring with el-live Productions for about 2 ½ years. Leaving home, traveling the world, and doing it with a bunch of strangers was frightening and exhilarating. I remember doing a ton of research about the company, and trying to present a strong presentation to my family that I was going to be safe.

Traveling the world and doing it through music was a lifelong dream of mine, and el-live was my ticket to make that come true. While doing some soul searching I remembered this old Irish saying, “Throw your hat over the wall” meaning if you really want something make the commitment and go. I packed my bags, left sunny southern California and joined el-live Productions.

Hanging out with members of my el-live family

Hanging out with members of my el-live family.

Starting off in Singapore

My first contract was in lovely safe Singapore with Shades band. I was so surprised to see a BMW pick me up from the airport and bring me to the Grand Hyatt. I felt like a rock star riding in style! My band leader Mikey met me in lobby and gave me a tour of the beautiful hotel and surrounding area. Every doubt I had about the company vanished along with my nervousness as Mikey and I sat at Starbucks across the street from the hotel getting to know one another.  A woman travelling alone across the world can be totally nerve racking and scary. I can say with 100 % certainty that the moment you meet your band you will no longer feel alone. Our el-live bands are like family.

Take a leap of faith

Since joining el-live I have traveled all over south east Asia and the middle east. I have made friends all over the world. In fact, on my last vacation the band I am in (Wave) and another el-live band (Oxygen) all went to Thailand together to visit another el-live band (Metro)! We really are family. “Throw your hat over the wall” because your dreams are on the other side.

– Julianne

August 2013

Guitar ice in the glass of wine
August 8, 2013

Steve Jobs, Jimmy Page, Lance Armstrong and me

by admin

I know you’re probably wondering how I ended up on this list of names. Well, I own an apple computer, love Led Zeppelin and have had a bike since the first grade. That's all true but there is something else I would like to point out. Go back and look at the three famous names on the top. Now say each name to yourself. What was the first thing that came into your mind? Here’s what I think of

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I know you’re probably wondering how I ended up on this list of names. Well, I own an apple computer, love Led Zeppelin and have had a bike since the first grade. That’s all true but there is something else I would like to point out.

Go back and look at the three  famous names on the top. Now say each name to yourself. What was the first thing that came into your mind?  Here’s what I think of

– All the money in the world can’t buy your health

– Man, I need to sit down and learn the guitar solo from Heartbreaker

– What a liar and a cheat

These famous names are known to millions. Like most, my circle is much smaller however if my name comes up in a conversation people are going to have an emotional response . The same is true of you. Some people call this your personal brand and it’s something worth thinking about because whether you like it or not, you’re already a brand.

Guitar ice in the glass of wine

What does this image make you think of?

Masters of the Brand

Steve Jobs changed the image of the CEO and became a brand upon himself. He became known for his wardrobe of round glasses, jeans, black sweaters and sneakers as much as for his cutting edge innovations. Some would brand him a genius, visionary and inspiration, while others would call him a tyrant,  selfish jerk and a control freak. Whichever way he’s perceived, no other company was more associated with its CEO than Apple.

Look at the image above. Here’s a guitar in a glass of whiskey. Who’s the owner? Any rock music fan knows it’s the famous double necked guitar Jimmy Page used on Stairway to heaven. He managed to brand his guitar! That’s no easy feat for any musician.

The rise and fall of a brand

Lance Armstrong’s story is one of the most extreme shifts in personal branding. He went from cancer survivor and one of sports most revered athletes to a liar, cheater, and fraud. The old adage “You are what you do, not what you say” was never more true.

Tom, Dick and Harry

Here’s another way to look at it .You’re putting a band together and you need to find musicians. Keep in mind you’ve never met any of these guys and you have three recommendations. Let’s start with the drummer:

– Tom is an amazing drummer but he’ll be drunk by the third set

– Dick is a nice guy but his time is all over the place

– Harry has a great feel, a nice guy and a pro all the way.

Harry gets the gig.

Everything from the clothes you wear, your shoes and your haircut to the way you shake hands says something about you. Even your body language and personal grooming paint a picture of your brand. Never underestimate the power of your image and reputation. YOU are the CEO of Me Inc.

Thanks for reading and see you all next month.

– Mike O’Reilly

July 2013

Think out of the box
July 25, 2013

Pop’s corner: There is no box

by admin

One of my earliest memories of music is the wedding of one of my uncles. I was all of 4 years old, and the wedding was held at the house of my great aunt in Belmont, a district in Trinidad’s capital of Port-Of-Spain. Apart from the usual celebration of the event, there was a live band, featuring a vibraphonist that would grow to be legendary in music circles in my country.

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The early spark

One of my earliest memories of music is the wedding of one of my uncles. I was all of 4 years old, and the wedding was held at the house of my great aunt in Belmont, a district in Trinidad’s capital of Port-Of-Spain. Apart from the usual celebration of the event, there was a live band, featuring a vibraphonist that would grow to be legendary in music circles in my country. His name was Andre Tanker, and listening to his music and voice that evening left me with an imprint on my spirit that would set me on a course of searching and seeking to tame a savage beast within…………………the hunger for music.

Through the years, I have been everything from avid listener, musician, composer, arranger, musical director, teacher and producer. To this day, I remain a student of music, always learning and searching for elements of beauty in what I hear.

Think out of the box

The term “think outside the box” created a mental picture of limitation. Boxes are for storage, not people!

“When I was your age, we used to…..”

I was working in recording studios when edits were made with razor blades and marker pencils. Analog recording machines had to undergo a complete alignment process daily. Remixes were done by recording the same section several times and changing volume levels, effects or muting instruments or groups of instruments to achieve the different sections’ desired effect. I fondly remember one particular session where we had 78 strpis of ¼” tape (Ampex 456) hanging from a board waiting to be assembled into the perfect remix. Can you say…………. long day?

A sleeping lion

I am blessed to have witnessed the emergence of technology that makes it possible to take a musical  idea from conception to a final master on a single DAW platform. The conversation on technology in music will be left for another day, but there is no doubt that we live in exciting times, where the internet has served as the instrument of liberation for independent artists globally.

The recording industry is in a paradigm shift and the old ideas of marketing are being slowly obliterated. Independent artists have found a vehicle with a credible pathway to the masses through websites such as YouTube and MySpace, to name just a couple of many.

This revolution will be televised

Our society is in a slow but subtle movement away from most conventions that have stood for several generations. The notion that our educational system is not much more than an elaborate machine designed to crank out people with the “worker” mentality is becoming pervasive. There is an increasing unwillingness by citizens worldwide to silently accept the political status quo. The global economy is under siege at the hands of regimes built on greed and insatiable appetites for power.

Institutes of “higher learning” are producing an alarming percentage of graduates with no place to go,  while an entire generation is being crushed under the growing realization that we’re approaching the tipping point for this planet and its people in terms of our survival. All of this is fortunately being witnessed, and shared by a global community armed with a technology that may yet prove to be the one thing that unites and saves us. Nothing happens anymore that isn’t digitally recorded and posted for the world to see……………and eventually understand.

Where’s the damned box? – The silver lining

Many of us grew up hearing that familiar term “think outside of the box”. The mere statement creates a mental picture of limitation. Being inside a box means your opportunity to grow and the level to which you can do so will be proportionate to the size of this “box”. THERE IS NO BOX!!!!!!!!!! The world was never flat, and the moon is not made of cheese. And, sad to say, Santa Claus is just great marketing coupled with indoctrination.

The good news is that access to information is no longer state or government controlled and will never be manipulated in the manner it has been for many decades. Never before have we had a tool of such potentially unifying force such as the internet. It’s there……………….let’s hope future generations can unlock more of the positive powers it possesses. So…………….maybe we should start visualizing life beyond the box. Maybe we should understand that we are collectively Me Inc……………………free to dream of economic autonomy and a business of our own…………to really challenge ourselves as the architects of our future…………..as individuals, and………….as one people. Finally…………… a global community.

Coming up

My next blog will feature 5 success stories of people who built their businesses through the internet. We will also feature 5 “websites that matter”.

Thank you for reading.

– Greg Lassalle

July 2013

Georges - el-live Production
July 4, 2013

Screw business, I am an artist

by admin

We've had the pleasure of working or sharing the stage with so many amazing musicians of all ages, backgrounds and different nationalities that we've become quite in-tune with many types of personalities. We've also grown to realize how musicians view the world in so many different ways, some productive and some flat out destructive.

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Some of the many great advantages of being part of el-live Productions are that we interview and meet literally hundreds of musicians from Berklee College of Music in Boston to McGill University in Montreal to musicians from all walks of life.

We’ve had the pleasure of working or sharing the stage with so many amazing musicians of all ages, backgrounds and different nationalities that we’ve become quite in-tune with many types of personalities. We’ve also grown to realize how musicians view the world in so many different ways, some productive and some flat out destructive.

One common feeling that sometimes exists among a number of younger musicians (and sometimes old-school musicians), is the disdain they have for business in general and especially big business. They feel that it takes away from the purity of music, it takes advantage of people, rips artists off, “…100% you won’t see ME being a part of all that crap…” they boast.

Honestly, I’ve never subscribed to that point of view and I find it quite naive, pompous and self-defeating.

Georges at el-live Productions woodshed

Whether I’m in the office or on stage, I embrace business and the products it has created to help me build a better future for all the artists at el-live Productions.

A bleak and barren but business-free world

The truth is, almost nothing would exist without business. My own MacBook Air, which I adore, wouldn’t be on my lap right now for me to write this article.  Your instrument, whether you’re a drummer or guitar player, wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for business. There would be no fruit on your table. How else would you get a fresh orange for breakfast in New York if an airplane, ship or truck didn’t bring it in from Florida?

Try to imagine a world with no hospitals, no roads, no churches, no CDs, no iTunes, no violins, no opera houses, no Roland gear, no Marshall amps, no clothes, no jewelry, and lo and behold… no TV! What?!

When we stop to think about it for a minute, business is everything.

Of course, some big businesses are “evil” and so are some medium-sized ones. Your local grocer could be “evil” as well. There are enough stories to support this. Business, in and of itself, is not “evil”. The “evil” lies in some of the people that run the business; from your church minister to your local butcher.

I love business and I love music. I always have. They must coexist, and as musicians, we should learn everything we can ABOUT business because we are its product. Yes, I know how we all hate that word “product”.  Call it what you want, dress it up,  fancy it up if it makes you feel hipper but that’s exactly what we are:  a “PRODUCT”!

As soon as you say: “I want to make money with my art”, it’s a product – period.

Sellout success or successful sell out?

If Stevie Wonder recorded his music on the hippest and latest equipment (Manufacturing), made sure that his latest album cover was beautiful (Packaging), that its profit margin was healthy (Finance) and then, went on Jimmy Fallon or a radio station to promote it (Marketing), would his music be any less beautiful?

His music would be just as beautiful as ever and because of his business sense, he has been able to maintain a career for over fifty years while other very talented people never had more than their mom hear their music. They had to settle for jobs they hated and never wrote another song all because business is “evil”. So instead, they took a job they disliked in someone else’s business!  It’s absurd to say the least.

el-live Productions was created on July 14th 2008. We started with 14 musicians and since then we have grown to 73, traveling all over Asia and the Middle East and if it wasn’t for this business, none of our wonderful artists would have gotten the opportunity to see this beautiful part of the world. Whether they come from Texas, California, New Zealand or Cuba, they are now traveling the world because of our business. We are very proud to have created this musical gem and I dare to say most of our artists’ lives have changed forever

Business is beautiful and it is an absolute necessity for this world to survive. So tomorrow, go register your new company, print some beautiful business cards and proudly let it shine: John Smith, CEO of Bass Player Inc., Open for business, “How may I help you”?

Thank you for reading, It’s good to be el-live.

G.

June 2013

Best song of the week
June 28, 2013

5 songs that blew me away last week

by admin

This week’s collection includes some new discoveries and old favorites revisited. I am sharing this at the suggestion of someone very close to my heart. I will be doing this weekly because I truly believe this can be, on some level, a service to many who are searching for the cream in such a vast environment such as YouTube.

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Hi friends!

This week’s collection includes some new discoveries and old favorites revisited. I am sharing this at the suggestion of someone very close to my heart. I will be doing this weekly because I truly believe this can be, on some level, a service to many who are searching for the cream in such a vast environment such as YouTube. In my humble opinion, the state of the art of music is at an all time high. There is a massive amount of phenomenal performances and compositions being posted daily. I will simply share my finds with you………….the bits that touched me in some way or another. Think of it as a journey or bus tour through the YouTube jungle. I find it always very humbling to stumble upon  these gems……………….and, always, inspiring. Happy listening!!!

Pure brilliance here. Not much I can say beyond that. It’s so creative on every level. Torched me.

This just killed me. Nathaniel Phillips kills the bass solo and Jeff Lorber, a long time time icon for me, play the heck out out of guitar!!!! A study in groovability. Marlon McClain on guitar, Ricky Lawson on drums, Gerald Albright on sax. Sublime!!

Passion unleashed!! Lucia Micarelli is the real deal and in this piece with Chris Botti, manages to coax an unbelievable amount of sensuality out of this piece…..and Chris. Enough said.

Virtuoso is not a word to be thrown around lightly, but there is certainly an argument for Usman Riaz to be placed on the short list of upcoming masters. Enjoy!

For 25 years, I have followed the music of these guys. It has enriched and influenced my experience of music more than I can say. In this piece, recorded in 2012, they explore deep funk in a jazz based gumbo to achieve a stunning result……………….remarkable!!

– Greg Lassalle

June 2013

Pick up songs of the week
June 13, 2013

Pop’s picks: 5 songs that blew me away this week

by admin

During the course of an average week, I listen to a huge amount of music. I have never personally tried to measure this in either time spent or the amount of songs listened to, but my life revolves around music................from the moment I open my eyes to that final peaceful descent into sleep.

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During the course of an average week, I listen to a huge amount of music. I have never personally tried to measure this in either time spent or the amount of songs listened to, but my life revolves around music…………….from the moment I open my eyes to that final peaceful descent into sleep.

Last night, after work, I spent 2 hours listening to an Arabic singer/keyboard player perform at Cinnabar, a club adjacent to the Jazz Bar, where I am currently appearing with my group, Impact. I didn’t understand one word that was sung, but was captivated by the beauty of his voice, and his amazing keyboard skills. I was moved by this music that was so foreign to me. I have found the same with much music around the world. I enjoy listening to lots of music in foreign languages. The link that connects us all as humans is indeed the sound of music.

I had a particularly fun week with music last week, where I stumbled on a few gems that I would like to share with you. A simple click on the title will take you to the link to the songs listed.

I had heard of Rascal Flatts before, and somehow had a faint idea that they were a good band, but never really gave them a serious listen. One of their songs “What Hurts The Most”, turned up in a search and I clicked on it. It turned out to be an amazing song, which led me to check out more of their stuff. I landed on “Easy” and was knocked off my chair. Great song with a breathtaking key change in the middle of the second verse. Floored me.

This was sent to me a while back and stands out as a testament of the fact that there’s a lot of good music and very creative folks that are doing great stuff. It also made me very grateful for the internet, which is proving the be very fertile ground for these brilliant minds. This piece needs very little description. A pop song performed entirely on piano where even the percussion parts utilize the body of the instrument.

Eyal Amir has made me a fan with his keen inventiveness and bold and fearless style. The title speaks for itself. The arrangement is stellar and at times mind boggling.

The name of the musician in this clip is Erik Mongrain, and when I first heard it, I couldn’t stop listening to this piece of music. It’s so creative and beautiful. He massages gorgeous harmonics out of the guitar and manages to create a soundscape that’s quite magical.

Doug stands as a one man wrecking crew of funky and creative bass sounds. He has been doing this for decades and is an outstanding bass player that doesn’t know what the “box” is, so he surely is not aware that he’s on the outside. Enjoy!

I am always humbled at how much great music is being made. I feel very grateful to be able to do what I do in music and to have people genuinely appreciate what they hear and feel is always a blessing.

Namaste.

Greg Lassalle

June 2013

Every stranger is a hidden friend
June 6, 2013

Every stranger is a hidden friend

by admin

Think about it. Your girlfriend/boyfriend, husband/wife………. Every person you have ever met in your life (besides your family) was a stranger at one point.  What stands between someone you don’t...

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Think about it. Your girlfriend/boyfriend, husband/wife………. Every person you have ever met in your life (besides your family) was a stranger at one point.  What stands between someone you don’t know and someone you just met is a mere handshake.

You know that warm feeling you get when you watch all these older movies and someone is walking down the street with a big smile on his face saying hello to everyone? “Hello Bob” he says to the grocer and as he passes by the butcher, “Hey Jimmy, how are the kids?  Tell Jane that Nancy sends her regards and let’s have dinner soon”.  It just seems like the town we would all want to live in. In many ways, we all live in that town. It’s called the world.

My wife Julie with local taxi drivers in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Once they were all strangers, now many consider her a friend.

My wife Julie with local taxi drivers in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Once they were all strangers, now many consider her a friend.

The Importance of Talking to Strangers

We all have to take taxis, ride the bus, take airplanes, cross people in elevators, go to the local store……. so it’s easy to just say “Hello. How are you? My name is Georges. What’s your name?” What’s wrong with that?  Why wait for Christmas to be friendly?  “Don’t talk to strangers” is necessary for all of us to protect our kids but we may have taken that phrase a little too far. I always talk to strangers and I love it. It makes me feel vibrant. Why wait for a chance for someone to introduce you? Take an active role and talk to someone………….anyone.

My wife is the ultimate “people machine”.  One floor above our apartment in the hotel where we live, is one of the nightclubs that we (el-live Productions) supply bands to. Because of that, many of our bands pass through our hotel and whether we’re in the elevator, on the street or in the restaurant, she will strike up a conversation with people from all over the world and just before saying goodbye she’ll suggest “Hey, we have a great band upstairs in the night club. Why don’t you bring your friends and check them out?” Eight times out of ten, they show up.

From Thailand to Taiwan to Vietnam, all the street vendors, taxi drivers and shopkeepers know her by her first name. They look after her and my young son. They give her discounts, call her by her first name and always give her the widest smile. We go back to some countries four years later and everyone remembers her. Of course the fact that she speaks three languages perfectly and gets by with at least five more doesn’t hurt.

Making Friends Around The World

My wife and I have had the pleasure to live in ten different countries for at least four months at a time and it has changed our lives forever in the most amazing ways.  We’re now in our seventeenth year living away from Montreal, Canada, our home town.  We now live between Vietnam and Singapore and we literally have friends all over the world.

Granted, as musicians/artists we get to meet more than our fair share of people. I never looked at the audience as “IT”.  I always saw them as friends that I hadn’t yet met.

You don’t have to travel, speak a different language or be a musician to meet people. Look around you and say “Hello” to the first person you meet as he or she may turn out to be one of the greatest people you’ve ever met and could enrich your life in ways you never thought possible.

A mere “Hello” to a complete stranger could end up putting a smile on both your face and theirs………….. and that, my friends, wherever you are, is reason enough.What do you have to lose? No one is a stranger for more than one minute.

Thank you for reading, It’s good to be el-live.

G.

May 2013

BB King playing guitar
May 30, 2013

Tell me a story

by admin

What is it that makes a great musician? If you had to narrow it down to one single quality what is the one thing, regardless of musical genre or instrument, that they all have in common? They’re storytellers...

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What is it that makes a great musician? If you had to narrow it down to one single quality what is the one thing, regardless of musical genre or instrument, that they all have in common? They’re storytellers.

Even though BB King and Wes Montgomery have very different styles of guitar playing, it’s their storytelling ability that makes them both great musicians. They both know how to draw a listener in using elements like melody, harmony, rhythm, space, tension, repetition, thematic development, anticipation, excitement, and climax. They’re both great storytellers.

Recording artist B.B. King performs at his B.B. King’s Blues Club at the Mirage Hotel & Casino August 16, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

A Legendary Tribute

Recently I attended Miles Smiles, a tribute concert to Miles Davis featuring his former sidemen. They are all world-class musicians in their own right and everyone took extended solos. Joey Defrancesco was on the Hammond B3 and every time he took a solo I was on the edge on my seat. He would inject a flurry of chromatic ideas and then take a long pause. He played against the time, held down chords with one hand and burned with the other. Not only did he play his ass off, his solos also took me on a journey of emotions. I should mention that the other musicians were also  killing, but for my money, Joey Dee was the real standout.

Journeying back in time

Recently, while revisiting a show called Night Music, I heard a swing blues with Hiram Bullock on guitar. Now, I hadn’t heard this solo in over twenty years but it jumped out at me like it was 1989 all over again. I had to sit down and transcribe it. The beginning of each chorus steps outside the tonality just enough to create some tension and then resolves into the next chord change in such an inventive and interesting way. Tension and release while keeping the listener’s attention. Another master storyteller at work.

Everyone has a Story of Their Own

The great thing about music is that we all have our own story to tell, unique and individual only to us. Just as nobody can ever be you, nobody can ever play you. BB’s story is nothing like Wes’s, Joey Dee’s story is nothing like Hiram’s, but they all share that narrative technique. I hope you enjoyed my story. Till next time

Michael O’Reilly
Head Band Leader

 

May 2013

May 16, 2013

I’m blogged out!

by admin

It seems that the whole world is blogging about one thing or another. The notion that every opinion and whim bears publishing is nauseating, and while I celebrate the freedom of expression it affords us all...

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Blogging…. Ad Nauseam?

It seems that the whole world is blogging about one thing or another. The notion that every opinion and whim bears publishing is nauseating, and while I celebrate the freedom of expression it affords us all, it’s crazy how much absolute nonsense floats by.

There’s no need to wax lyrical…it’s great to be el-Live.

I was going to talk about why el-live Productions is such an important company for young musicians today, but that’s a no-brainer. Let’s see. Travel the world relatively expense-free, performing music. Have the opportunity to work with some of the best musicians around. Work in a system that provides the consummate professional training program for young musicians and singers. Experience new cultures, people and languages. Be part of vibrant support community. Oh………….and get paid!!!

There are indeed a number of other avenues for young musicians fresh out of music school to pursue for sure. And, frankly, not everyone is ready for the discipline and concentration needed to learn a show and perform it flawlessly night after night. For many, though, this is precisely the goal. To ready themselves for the opportunities to come, and be prepared to excel. For any young artist considering a career in music, this path is among the best available. I would even recommend the company to my own children………and have, as a matter of fact two of my children are now members of el-live

Can I get a filter with that, please?

But, I digress. Blogs are unfortunately with us to stay. They are an extension of the freedom which we passionately defend. If only we were able to apply a system of filtration to remove the nonsense. (A “de-crapper” of sorts) I can still dream.

Thank you for reading.

Greg Lassalle.

May 2013

Microphone Public Relation
May 7, 2013

Why PR sucks

by admin

One of our artists, a wonderful entertainer, called me a while back and proceeded to ask me: “Hey G, is it okay if I don’t do PR?” I almost said yes, but I said: “Hell no, why would you ask me that?” This got me...

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One of our artists, a wonderful entertainer, called me a while back and proceeded to ask me: “Hey G, is it okay if I don’t do PR?” I almost said yes, but I said: “Hell no, why would you ask me that?” This got me to thinking why any musician would ask such a question.  Well… because the term ‘PR’ sucks.

So what is “PR” anyway?
It sounds like such a chore. So mechanical. A “PR Manager”… what is that exactly? When we were performing in the Philippines there was a stunningly beautiful American Filipina girl doing PR with a nametag that said “PR Manager”.

As soon as she spoke to you, you felt that she was smiling with you and buying you a drink because, well, she was the PR Manager and that was what she was supposed to do in the first place.  People felt she was being insincere because of the title, eventually the managers got it and removed the dumb nametag.

Meeting old friends and making some new ones at The Gig

What do people want from you?

The artist’s question kept on nagging me so I called a meeting with a bunch of our bands and asked: “Please tell me what happens when you approach customers to do PR? What do people want from you? What do they actually say?”.

One musician said: “Well, usually they say “Hey, you guys are great, I love your band”. A female singer said: “They tell me I’m beautiful and they love my voice”.  Another said: “They ask me if I want a drink and some of them welcome us to their country and hope that we enjoy their culture”. Suddenly, everyone looked at each other and felt almost arrogant and realized how blessed we truly are as artists.

This music thing cannot happen without people!
The fact is that as musicians/artists we are blessed, but this music thing cannot happen without people. It is 100% a people business. The product (band) is people. The customers are people. You make music with people and you play for people. Without people, you have no job.

The next time you walk on stage, remember when you were in the audience watching your favorite band and how you looked at them in awe and with respect. We all have had this moment as musicians, as people…  Don’t forget to look at your audience straight in the eyes and say: “Ladies and gentlemen, you could have been anywhere tonight but you chose to spend your precious time with us. Thank you for being here. We truly appreciate it and we’ll give you our best show and make your time worthwhile”. Say it with all your heart.

As soon as the show is done go into the audience even before you dry yourself off and give them the biggest smile. Meet them as human beings with lives and families. Don’t shake hands robotically. People know when someone is just going through the motions. We owe them that much because we are them. It’s not PR, it’s music and humanity at its best.

Thank you for reading. It’s good to be el-live.

G.

February 2013

Steely Dan Music Founder
February 7, 2013

Pop’s place: 3 songs that changed my musical life

by admin

Aja marked Walter Becker and Donald Fagen’s startling arrival at the junction of jazz, rock and pop. The album was a seamless...

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Aja – Steely Dan – 1977
Aja marked Walter Becker and Donald Fagen’s startling arrival at the junction of jazz, rock and pop. The album was a seamless blend of all that was “cool” delivered with amazing ease, despite the complexity and sophistication of the arrangements. Steely Dan hadn’t really been a “band” since Pretzel Logic in 1974, and this record saw the duo launch fully into session mode, gathering a hand picked collection of world class musicians and singers.

The song “Aja”, stands as a hallmark of genius on several levels. The brilliant lyric and melody, beautifully textured harmonies, amazing arrangement…………Steve Gadd’s reported first take performance is breathtaking!!! Finally, Wayne Shorter’s solo propels the entire track skyward. This………….was 7 minutes and 57 seconds of perfection, and changed the way I listened to music.


 

A House Is Not A Home – Luther Vandross – 1981

“A House Is Not A Home” was the product of the songwriting team of Burt Bacharach and Hal David. Written in 1964 and a modest hit for Dionne Warwick (also released by Brook Benton at that time), this song blossomed into a timeless masterpiece in the hands of Luther Ronzoni Vandross and Nat Adderly Jr. The arrangement by Adderly was brilliant, measured and restrained, leaving room for Luther’s magnificent delivery of possibly the best vocal performance of 1981. I spent many a night moving the needle back to the top of this cut repeatedly, always getting that little extra detail missing on previous listenings. A great song in the hands of a genius. We were blessed to have this.



 

Shock The Monkey – Peter Gabriel – 1982

Peter Gabriel was around for years, as the co-founder and front man of the group, Genesis, from 1967 to 1975. His flamboyant use of costumes and lighting, along with his storytelling during their shows, made Gabriel a standout performer of the period. His third solo album is credited as the first record to use the famous “gated drum” sound which was used extensively in the 1980’s. “Shock The Monkey”, the first single from his 4th album “Security”, was his first US Top 40 hit and was a radical departure sonically from everything else on the charts at the time. Stark and angular, featuring world beat percussion and unusual instrumentation, the song, and album, opened the door to a whole new world of creative sampling and sound-shaping. A breathtaking first listen, which quickly became an addiction.

 

February 2013

Mile Davis Saxophonist
February 7, 2013

My ego only needs a good rhythm section and Miles Davis

by admin

Having been a professional musician for the last 27 years, I’ve been put in many different musical situations and asked to play many...

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Having been a professional musician for the last 27 years, I’ve been put in many different musical situations and asked to play many different styles of music. Inevitably, the style of music always dictates what I end up playing. We’re talking about comping here, not soloing. On my gig that’s basically 80% of your night.

As a guitar player, most times I’ll take the path of least resistance; Blues I’ll shuffle, Reggae I’ll skank, rock I’ll power chord, ect… This is where chord voicings, double stops and knowing your intervals/harmony really influence how you sound and fit into the rhythm section.

Mile Davis Saxophonist

It can be much more challenging playing today’s top 40 hits where many times there are no guitar parts at all on the track. When in this situation, I’ll draw from my little trick bag of licks that I’ve amassed over the years to come up with a guitar part or I’ll just lay out all together (not play at all).

Just laying out sometimes can be a very effective approach. I’ve seen many musicians struggle with this concept, feeling they always need to be playing, strumming, stepping on a pedal or noodling in one way or another. It’s like getting on an elevator these days. Two strangers on the same elevator often take out their phone and start noodling, trying to hide from that awkward silence.

So I might lay out in verse one. In verse two, maybe I’ll enter and play a muted funky lick to create some interest. In the pre chorus maybe I’ll add some double stops and then only open up in the chorus. Of course this depends on the song. Record the band and listen back. Are you playing a part?  Does it bring interest to the listener? Does it clash with anyone else’s part? And lastly, does it feel good? Does your drummer ever look up and smile or your bass player giving you an approving nod when you’re comping?

Make them smile and next time on an elevator leave your phone in your pocket, unless of course it’s your drummer calling to say how good it felt onstage last night.