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