Archive for the ‘Billboard Charts’ Category
New Celtic Woman CD & DVD – Celtic Woman releases new Emerald: Musical Gems and North American Tour with over 80 concert performances in progress for the popular Celtic group.
Celtic Woman is making music news this week by the release of Emerald: Musical Gems, a digital CD with 12 traditional Irish songs, which includes an additional free MP3 download version at Amazon. Released on February 25, 2014, an accompanying DVD with 18 songs by the same title is also available.
Celtic Woman’s North American Concert Tour has begun, and is expected to cover over 80 concert shows in North America. Later in the year on October 13, 2014, Celtic Woman begins their European Tour, covering cities in the countries of Belgium, Germany, Holland, and Switzerland.
It’s been quite a year for the group, having attained the Top World Album of the year at Billboard for the Celtic Woman Home For Christmas album. Billboard likewise awarded Celtic Woman the World Artist of the Year, which is the fifth year in a row for the ultra-popular vocal instrumental group.
The CD version of Emerald: Musical Gems, contains 12 song of the traditional Irish fare that has propelled Celtic Woman to modern day music celebrities, who continue to dazzle the world. The 12 song of traditional Irish favorites on the Emerald: Musical Gems CD are: Mo Ghile Mear, Dulaman. Caladonia, Amazing Grace, The New Ground, She Moved Through The Fair, Bridge Over Troubled Water, Nil Se’n La, Danny Boy, The Voice, The Parting Glass & You Raise Me Up.
New Age Music World interview host and publicist John P. Olsen had an opportunity to interview songwriter, recording artist, and Liquid Mind Musical Healthcare® experience developer Chuck Wild.
John P. Olsen: Thank you for accepting my interview invitation Chuck. It’s a privilege to host your newest interview in 2013!
Chuck Wild: Hi John, thanks for the insightful questions, I appreciate the opportunity to talk about my journey in musical healthcare.
John: My admiration for your work began when you were a member of the phenomenal new wave pop band Missing Persons, and years later when you transitioned to the highly successful artist title Liquid Mind. Let’s begin with your earliest experiences as a musician Chuck. How did your music career begin prior to joining Missing Persons?
Chuck Wild: I grew up in Kansas City, Missouri, and began playing piano at age four. I was diagnosed with a congenital hip problem (which was completely resolved by age eight), but back in the 1950’s the only cure was to remain off my feet for a full year. My parents hired a wonderful caregiver for me for that year, and she used to carry me down to the piano every morning and teach me how to play.
By the age of five I was permitted to walk with a brace for about a year, but the piano already had me hooked. By age six, I was mobile, and my heart’s desire was to sit behind the church organist at our church, so my folks arranged for me to spend all morning most Sundays with our organist, Gladys Hamilton Combs. After services, Gladys would sometimes let me play the giant Kilgen organ which had 39 ranks and five keyboards.
My formal music training started as member of the kids’ choir at church and also in grade school, where daily music was part of the curriculum. At age 6, I began studying classical piano privately with various teachers until age 16. During high school, I played organ for youth services every Sunday for about four years, where I gained lots of experience improvising and playing the type of meditational music that eventually became Liquid Mind. I also sang in an award winning male octet, and played piano for our high school concert choir at times. Though I have a degree in Business Administration, I studied and performed music all through college as well.
After graduating from college I served four years in the Navy. The captain of our ship had sung in the famous Robert Shaw Chorale, and when he found out I was a piano player, we made the rounds together of Naval and local clubs all over the Pacific. He would sing, I would accompany on some of the most colorful pianos I’ve ever played on, and in some of the most exotic places I’ve ever been. After serving in the Navy, I went on the road with various bands for 11 years, “paying my dues” as the saying goes. I played in almost a dozen such show and cover bands prior to coming to LA (1979) and joining the band Missing Persons in 1980.
John: What factors led to your decision to begin a career as a musician?
Chuck Wild: The very first water color I painted as a child was a picture of me sitting in front of a large pipe organ, so perhaps there was some early predestination about the career. I remember telling my parents when I returned home for the Navy that I wanted to be a musician. My folks, realizing that the life of a musician can be very challenging, were not encouraging, and suggested I might try it for just a couple of years. Two years has turned into 40 years now…
I wish I could say I had a grand design back then, but the truth at that point in time was much shallower. I just enjoyed being on the road in the many bands, and did learn a lot about life and music. The “road” is also the “tuition” a new musician pays for better musicianship. There have been many ups and downs, I remember in the early days sleeping in the back of my van with a pillow on the pedal board of my old Hammond B3 organ. Still, they were generally happy days, as friends were generous with their couches when our bands ran out of money!
John: Missing Persons became a phenomenal chart topping band with international success with hit albums and songs like Walking In L.A., Words, Destination Unknown, & Mental Hopscotch, just to name a few. In addition to massive radio airtime, Missing Persons was a favorite group played nearly non-stop during the early years of an American television channel and cultural game-changer named Music Television, otherwise known as MTV. A lot of people have varied tastes in music like me so would you please tell us all about your music career while you were with the popular Capitol Records group Missing Persons?
Chuck Wild: On September 22, 1980, I received a call from singer Dale Bozzio, asking me if I’d like to audition for their band. Dale had found me through the Musicians Contact Service in Hollywood. I said “no” as it was my birthday, but maybe another time. Dale said, “Oh, since it’s your birthday, if you’ll come audition, we’ll buy you dinner after the audition!” I agreed, and went to the audition, and they bought me a wonderful Italian birthday dinner.
However, when I arrived for the audition, I found out that they needed a keyboard player who had the coordination to play left hand (very fast) bass parts in odd time signatures, while at the same time playing keyboard parts in the right hand in different time signatures!
I had no problem playing either hand alone, but had never played keyboard bass & keyboard parts at the same time. So, I failed the audition but we still had a fun birthday dinner that night. During the course of the audition, they played four songs for me which they’d recorded with producer Ken Scott (The Beatles, David Bowie, Supertramp) up at Frank Zappa’s house.
I really loved the tracks they’d played for me, so the next day I made the decision to get up at 5 am every morning and practice the new technique of left hand bass and right hand keys, in odd time signatures, first in slow motion, then very fast, until I was proficient enough to audition again. After a couple of weeks I asked for another audition, and this time got the job.
That turned into a whirlwind of activity – Missing Persons started playing live in late 1980 and we sold out 40 shows in a row in Los Angeles prior to getting signed, primarily because the other 3 members of the band had worked extensively with Frank Zappa, who had a big Los Angeles following. I must say it was an extraordinary experience. Terry Bozzio, arguably still one of the greatest living drummers, Warren Cuccurullo, an amazingly creative guitarist who went on to play with Duran Duran for twelve years, and Dale Bozzio, a fashion leader long before Lady Gaga and Madonna, and myself played gig after gig for those first 18 months.
In 1981, once the band had some label interest, we were joined by the talented bassist/composer Patrick O’Hearn, who is a wonderful artist in his own right. Although we were initially rejected by some labels, our manager/producer Ken Scott persisted, and decided it would benefit us to tour in Canada, and then play some dates in New York City area to prove we could attract fans outside of California. Capitol Records staff in NY heard us, on that trip, where we played three sold out shows, the Peppermint Lounge, the Ritz, and a live concert recording for the venerable rock station, WPLR-FM Long Island. When we returned to Los Angeles, Capitol Records signed the group.
One of my fondest memories from those days was taking a copy of our 4-song EP (phonograph record in those days) to radio station KROQ in 1980. It was very difficult to get music to KROQ, so I waited in the parking lot after everyone left, and as one of the employees was leaving, I propped open the back door with a twig. When the lot had cleared out, I went in and gave our EP to the on-air DJ, Freddie Snakeskin who happened to be program director for KROQ. About 2 weeks later we were riding in a car to rehearsal and heard our song Mental Hopscotch on the air. That song went on to become #1 song of the year in LA before we were even signed. From that point on, our Los Angeles gigs were often introduced by Dusty Street, Jed the Fish, and Freddy Snakeskin (program director for KROQ).
During that same period, Les Garland, an A & R person from Atlantic Records had become a fan of the band, and though Atlantic didn’t sign us, Les went on to become Senior VP of the new Music Television station, MTV, and once we were signed to Capitol, we soon had six videos in heavy rotation, which helped enormously.
John: Fascinating Chuck! In addition to being a band member for Missing Persons you were a session musician on albums for many music celebrities including Paula Abdul, The Pointer Sisters, Frank Zappa and the late Michael Jackson to name a few. Would you like to tell of your experiences while working with famous celebrity artists?
Chuck Wild: In the mid 1970’s I was playing in a blues band in Zebulon, NC, and actually lived in a studio called Mega Sound Studios in nearby Bailey, NC. I traded a place to live in return for playing sessions and keeping the place clean. My initial training in recording arts came from a wonderful engineer by the name of Richard Royal, who was one of the studio owners. So I got a lot of early studio experience in those days. As I mentioned, Missing Persons’ producer on our first album was Ken Scott, and I sat behind Ken whenever possible to learn as much as I could. Missing Persons’ second full-length album, Rhyme and Reason, was produced by legendary five time Grammy-winning engineer/producer Bruce Swedien who had been Quincy Jones’ engineer for over 35 years, including having engineered Thriller and most of the other Michael Jackson albums. Over the years Bruce and his wonderful wife Bea have been mentors for me, and were instrumental in encouraging me to begin the Liquid Mind® series.
In 1987 I co-wrote (and played on) a song for the Pointer Sisters called Say the Word with Grammy-winning producer Glen Ballard and the late great songwriter, Marti Sharron. Glen started calling me for some sessions, including a song on Paula Abdul’s debut album. My longest stint in the studio began when Bruce Swedien called me in 1994 to ask if I’d like to program sounds for Michael Jackson’s HIStory album. I said yes, and I continued to create soundscapes, sounds, and do some percussion programming for Michael between 1994 and 1998. The money I earned from Michael those years helped me to start Chuck Wild Records in the early days, in order to distribute Liquid Mind. Suzanne Doucet, a friend and wonderful New Age artist in her own right, was instrumental as a consultant in setting up my label and distribution, and in guiding me through the trials of running a small label.
John: When you were signed as a staff songwriter to Lorimar Telepictures and Warner/Chappell Music, and also in the years to follow, you’ve composed over 125 songs, scores, and compositions for the television and film industry. Who are some of the artists who’ve recorded your songs?
Chuck Wild: After co-writing the above mentioned song for the Pointer Sisters, I was approached by Linda Perry, VP of Lorimar Telepictures Music Publishing Division about becoming a staff songwriter there. My deal continued with Warner/Chappell Music after Warner Brothers purchased Lorimar a couple of years later.
A lot of artists recorded songs I wrote or co-wrote back then including Philip Bailey (from Earth Wind & Fire), Jennifer Rush (I co-wrote a #1 song in Europe for her Passion album called You’re My One and Only), Tommy Page (now a publisher at Billboard Magazine), Glen Medeiros (who sang High Wire from one of the Karate Kid films), Hidden Faces (who sang Hurt So Bad to Love which has appeared in several films), the legendary Japanese band Wink recorded my song One Kiss At a Time.
Thelma Houston, Gary Lemel, Vector, Angela Cole, the Perri Sisters and David Pomeranz are some of the other artists recording my songs back then. In the early 90’s I also recorded two libraries of neo-classical instrumental music, which have had hundreds of plays in dozens of television episodes & films.
More recently I’ve also co-written a number of songs for television & film with the Emmy-winning president of the California Songwriters’ Association, Michèle Vice-Maslin, including Starr X’d Lovers, our Emmy-nominated song in 2011.
John: After leaving Missing Persons you began producing music designed for relaxation under the artist name Liquid Mind®. What was the turning point in your life that led you to begin producing music in the new age genre that is near opposite to the music of Missing Persons?
Chuck Wild: In 1987 while co-composing music with Michael Hoenig for the Emmy-winning Max Headroom ABC-TV series, the filming & post-production of the show got seriously behind schedule, and instead of having 2-3 weeks to score each episode, we typically had only 4-5 days to score, write, arrange and mix 43 minutes of music for each episode, meaning there was little time for sleep. For three months, I slept only about 4 hours a night, usually in the studio. At the same time, a large number of my friends were dying of what was then called AIDs, so I was very stressed out and sleep deprived. I started having anxiety attacks, then panic attacks. The show was cancelled in late 1987 and I went home to rest, and actually became agoraphobic (wouldn’t leave home for several weeks).
At one point during a particularly bad panic attack, co-composer Michael Hoenig and Peter Wagg, the producer of Max Headroom, took me to an urgent care clinic. After examining me, the doctor held up two things in his hands. In one hand was a bottle of anti-anxiety medication, in the other hand was a sheet of paper with instructions on how to do a simple clearing meditation. The doctor said, “Chuck, they both work equally as well for what you have – clinical anxiety. It’s up to you: Medication or Meditation?
There’s only one letter difference between the two.” I chose meditation over medication that day. The instructions were for a simple clearing meditation, just breathing slowly in and out and counting a number for each breath from 1 to 10, and repeating over and over. To this day, I still have a section at my site for a “meditation break” with those instructions.
The meditation helped quite a bit, but I was still unstable at times. My friend Jeff Kingfisher (composer, recording artist, and inventor of Muzoracle, Musicians Dice, and Muzundrum musical board game) suggested I see a counselor friend of his. The counselor suggested that, as part of my healing from anxiety/panic, I try to compose the type of music that represented the way I wanted to feel.
Liquid Mind was borne of the thought: Music can help heal me, and sonically represented the calm I yearned for. She also encouraged me to increase my meditation time to an hour a day.
Though I don’t meditate that long these days, it was a great help to me at the time, and brought me much peace. My early meditations and slow music efforts (especially Zero Degrees Zero from the first Liquid Mind album), plus some intensive therapy with excellent counselors, brought me some relief, enough to leave the house and start a routine of counseling and weekly acupuncture. Within a couple of years, I was pretty much anxiety free and physically recovered from the harm I’d done myself in those 3 months of sleep deprivation and stress.
John: What would you say are the defining characteristics of Liquid Mind Music?
Chuck Wild: There are several readily identifiable characteristic of my music. First and foremost, the music has no predominant rhythm, and is sometimes called “zero beat” music. One day while sitting on the rocks in Laguna Beach, CA, on a therapist-mandated “mini vacation”, I realized that the sound of the ocean was continuous, low and rich, tonally complex, never stopping, and deeply relaxing. That day I came up with the name “Liquid Mind” (i.e. liquid-ocean was relaxing my mind). I determined that the sonic characteristic of my healing music must be similar to the ocean.
I favor low frequencies, continuous sound, absence of any predominant rhythms, gradual but sometimes complex textural and harmonic changes, moving at about the speed of my breathing, ebbing and flowing at times, and the inclusion of sampled vocal sounds subtly playing chords. Live singers weren’t added until later albums, but I definitely prefer the more organic live vocal textures. Tenors AJ Teshin and Seven Whitfield have sung on almost every album since 2001, and more recently tenor Jimmy Demers as well.
This music is tedious to record, to say the least, since the pieces are long form (many are 10-15 minutes length), and so slow moving. Liquid Mind albums can take 5-7 months to write, arrange, record, mix, and master. Also, as I’ve been caffeine free since 1988, I definitely get drowsy while working on this music, especially during the mixing process and have learned the benefits of a fifteen-minute power-nap!
John: What is sedative or therapeutic music primarily used for?
Chuck Wild: Music therapy, which includes almost every style of music imaginable, is administered by a certified music therapist (who often has a master’s degree in music therapy), and can help most anyone who has a health issue. My sedative music is but a tiny part of the music therapist’s toolbox. The American Music Therapy Association, a wonderful organization which certifies and educates music therapists, says this: “Music Therapy is an established healthcare profession that uses music to address physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs of individuals of all ages. Music therapy improves the quality of life for persons who are well, and meets the needs of children and adults with disabilities or illnesses.”
I’m not a music therapist myself, but as a composer of therapeutic music, I’m an associate member of the American Music Therapy Association, and was honored to receive their Presidential Award in late 2009. The terms “sedative” and “stimulative” are used to describe less active and more active music. It’s up to the attending physician and the attending music therapist to decide together whether a patient needs relaxation (as in the case of folks with PTSD, anxiety, pain, grief, emotional exhaustion, sleep deprivation etc.) or stimulation (like some elderly, for example, or someone who’s suffered a stroke).
John: Scientific studies have documented the positive effects of therapeutic music, and in your case the benefits of calming music proved to be successful by relieving your personal medical issues with anxiety and panic attacks. But do you feel music therapy can be beneficial to everyone?
Chuck Wild: Music therapy interventions can be designed to manage stress, help folks learn to express their feelings, alleviate physical pain, improve communication, promote physical rehab, enhance memory, and generally promote wellness. It’s really quite amazing, and most music therapists use music with characteristics that are proven in evidence-based research to achieve a particular healing effect.
John: Of course one doesn’t need to have a specific medical issue like panic attacks to benefit from, and enjoy your music, so what are some of the ways people use Liquid Mind Music other than this particular medical disorder?
Chuck Wild: A lot of folks use my Liquid Mind music to relax prior to going to sleep. Dr. William Dement, the “father of sleep medicine” offered an unsolicited endorsement of my 8th album, Liquid Mind VIII: Sleep as part of a pre-sleep routine. I collated some “sleep tips” from his book and other sources, which can be accessed from my website. Massage therapists and yoga instructors use Liquid Mind frequently. One use I don’t recommend is driving while listening to my music. There’s a warning on every CD & my website about that.
Liquid Mind is also used in dozens of healthcare settings for different purposes. I’ve heard from doctors, nurses, music therapists, state prison counselors, drug rehabs, hypnotherapists, yoga instructors, massage therapists, acupuncturists, psychologists, cancer chemotherapy centers, psychologists and other counselors, ministers, meditation teachers, hospice caregivers, special needs school teachers, and many patients who use the Liquid Mind® music for healing. I’m quite humbled by the over two thousand gratitude emails I’ve received from patients and their families. I never imagined there would be that much interest in my music.
John: Like you stated earlier, Liquid Mind albums are composed using specific techniques based on scientifically supported research to achieve the desired physical responses. Based on these scientific studies, could you tell us the techniques you use when composing your music?
Chuck Wild: Evidence based research does support some characteristics of Liquid Mind – bass (lower) frequencies and vocal sounds are perceived to be relaxing to humans, because when we’re in the womb, a safe place prior to birth, we don’t hear a lot of treble frequencies, it’s more muffled sounds, and we get used to the sound of our mother’s voice, so there is that familiarity. I’ve done some unpublished research myself using a bi-spectral index anesthesia monitor, and determined that continuous slow music (similar to ocean sounds) has a “masking” effect on other environmental sounds, making it much easier to relax.
There is also the effect of entrainment, which in a reverse way, in my own non-scientific opinion, helps Liquid Mind to relax folks. Entrainment is the propensity for two oscillating systems (imagine two pendulum clocks on a wall) to entrain and move at the same time. This happens in biological systems as well. When I hear fast music, my heart rate rises. When I hear slow music, my heart rate falls as muscle relaxation ensues.
My recording process is as follows: (1) I spend 4-5 weeks sketching about 40 pieces, 10-20 minutes each (2) I choose the best 5 or 6 pieces (3) I spend 6-10 weeks arranging, really the most difficult stage, where I’m smoothing any attacks on the sounds I use (generated from 10-15 synths and dozens of tracks of live vocals).
The music sounds quite simple, but the texture is always in motion under the surface. (4) 6-10 weeks mixing and creating the sonic fingerprint of Liquid Mind. (5) 2 weeks premastering where I reduce certain mid-high frequencies, boost certain bass frequencies and importantly to volume-match within and between the pieces.
I don’t want someone to have to reach for a volume adjustment while they’re listening. (6) 1 or 2 weeks mastering with Bernie Grundman here in Hollywood. Bernie is a legend in the recording industry and he and Joe Bozzi supervise the final touches of the process.
John: Liquid Mind albums are consistent best-selling albums making the Top 25 sales charts at Billboard again and again. In fact your 8th album Liquid Mind VIII: SLEEP was on the Billboard top 25 sales charts for over a year, and has reached #1 on the iTunes USA Top Ten New Age Chart countless times. Were you at any point surprised by the widespread popularity of your work has received or did you “just know” your music would achieve universal acceptance?
Chuck Wild: I never really expected to have the kind of acceptance I’ve had for Liquid Mind®, it was a pleasant surprise when I started charting on iTunes. I’ve always worked hard at making Liquid Mind “pay for itself” as a business, but was surprised when Liquid Mind VIII: SLEEP showed up on the Billboard® New Age sales charts for over a year running.
John: To say your music career is diverse is an understatement Chuck! You have received a lot of recognition for your work as Liquid Mind over the years so would you please tell us about the honors and awards you’ve achieved?
Chuck Wild: I’ve had some recognition from the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (Emmy® nomination), the American Music Therapy (Presidential Award for advocacy and support of the music therapy profession), Billboard and iTunes USA charting dozens of times (for sales), Coalition of Visionary Resources award for Best Meditation/Healing Album for Liquid Mind VI: Spirit, Northern California Independent Film Festival best score honors for the award-winning short animation film “Horses on Mars” which exclusively used music from the first Liquid Mind album. Most recently, the prestigious Zone Music Reporter, representing US new age broadcasters and program directors, has nominated my new album, Liquid Mind X: Meditation for Best Electronic Album of 2012.
John: You are an artist with most of your albums on the successful Real Music Label, which features a quality lineup of top industry artists like yourself. What are the advantages to marketing your music through the Real Music Label?
Chuck Wild: John, I ran my own label for 10 years (1994-2004), focusing only on Liquid Mind, supervising employees and working seven days a week, with very long hours. That left me little time to create music, and even less time to “have a life.” In 2004, I decided to approach Terence Yallop and his wife Karen Kael, the owners of Real Music, about taking over distribution (i.e. licensing) of my first six albums, and also signing a recording agreement for four additional albums.
I’d met Terence in 1994 or 1995, and by 2004, and knew he and Karen had been meditating to my Liquid Mind music almost daily for ten years, so it seemed like a good fit. Real Music has real integrity, being one of the few New Age labels to survive the mergers of the 80’s, 90’s and 00’s, and to prosper in the downturns that have plagued the music industry. Terence and Karen and the wonderful staff at Real Music have remained true to their mission of bringing the music of relaxation, renewal and healing to everyone on the planet who can benefit from it.
To answer your question more specifically, there are economies of scale from being signed to a label. I get to work less time on administration and more time on music. Real Music has been a respected and established label for over 25 years in this niche, and it’s a relief to have the label administering, promoting and distributing my catalog. BTW, most recently my friend and Real Music label mate Omar Akram won the Grammy for his latest album.
John: What would you say are the fundamental differences in the music you compose versus meditative or made for relaxation albums created by other artists in the same category?
Chuck Wild: There is wonderful relaxation/meditation music by many artists from all over the world. Since relaxation is often cultural, something that may be relaxing in one country or society might not be perceived favorably in another. So, it’s a bit difficult to compare artists. I’d say Liquid Mind has different characteristics than some relaxation music. My music tends to be slower; perhaps more mellow sonically, laced with European classical harmonies, and is notable for the absence of any percussion instruments. I don’t listen much to other artists unless I’m working with them, so don’t consider myself an expert. One of my former students, the talented composer and performer Armen Chakmakian, is fond of saying that all music is relaxing and healing to someone. I fully agree.
John: Liquid Mind albums and songs are available on audio CD, but is all of your music available as digital downloads too?
Chuck Wild: Yes, all twelve albums (ten studio CDs and two compilations) are available both digitally and on CD. 70% of Liquid Mind sales are now digital, fewer CDs are still being sold these days. All twelve Liquid Mind® albums are sold through iTunes, Amazon.com, CDBaby.com, and dozens of digital sites. Real Music also sells all albums, both in digital and physical CD copies. Liquid Mind is streamed around the clock on Pandora, Spotify and just about every streaming service, as well as dozens of internet radio stations, digital television, and Sirius XM.
John: It’s a well-known fact the music industry as a whole has experienced serious problems with piracy issues. Has there been much improvement regarding piracy as a whole, and have you ever experienced problems with piracy yourself?
Chuck Wild: Unfortunately, the technological advances that enable file sharing have hit our industry (and many other industries) hard. At one point, all my Liquid Mind albums were on nearly 100 pirate websites.
It can be disheartening, but there’s really nothing substantial that can be done about it until music fans grow to understand the harm free file-sharing does to artists, engineers, producers, songwriters, composers, performers, and employees of labels. I think the most devastating effect of piracy is that it has caused the disappearance of several major labels, and destroyed a portion of the major label “farm club” system that used to nurture new artists.
These days, instead of a new artist spending their time on music, they must become musical entrepreneurs, wearing every hat (producer, engineer, publisher, label, PR person, social media expert, marketer, and so forth). I personally believe that the quality of music has suffered and the majority of new artists are never able to make a “sustainable” living at music now.
Major labels have been criticized for being greedy and taking advantage of artists, which may have happened in some cases, however, it’s estimated that only 5% of artists ever sell enough albums to break even. The other 95% of artists used to be supported by the top 5%. But that system of artist development is no longer in place for the most part.
Individuals and some websites like Kickstarter have stepped in to fill that void, but these efforts require a lot more time commitment to business by the artists, meaning less time to grow musically. Pirate sites do, in a sense, provide some promotional value, as long as folks go on to support artists by purchasing some tracks, but there is no proof that this is happening on a large scale and overall music sales have declined over 50%.
Like every other artist, Liquid Mind has been hit by file-sharing. I’m in hopes that folks are now coming to the understanding that artists, composers, singers, arrangers, engineers, mixers, studios, and label staff spend many months creating an album and preparing for release, and are just asking for fair compensation for their time. Though I enjoy music production, it is a business for me, and every other artist, especially as we grow older. Without support of fans and listeners, many artists will need to turn elsewhere to make a living.
John: During interviews I try to provide the latest press news for my artist and their fans if possible. Can you release any news information or perhaps give us the details if you have plans for a new Liquid Mind album?
Chuck Wild: I have no plans for release of a new Liquid Mind album, having just released Liquid Mind X: Meditation in September 2012. This year, I’m focusing on pop music production, and my classical piano pieces.
John: You have enjoyed several distinctly separate, but highly successful careers in your lifetime. What do you find most rewarding, songwriting/composing, production or being a musician?
Chuck Wild: In my own case, the three are synergistic, and I find reward in all of them. I love what the great writer Pearl Buck said: “The secret to joy in work is excellence.” I strive for (but never fully achieve) excellence.
The process is what keeps me going, especially when working with folks who have high standards and are willing to take the time required for high quality work. I’m producing a young artist now, one of the singers from NBC’s The Voice, Nathan Parrett.
He’s a terrific talent both as singer and songwriter, and it’s one of those opportunities to excel that make me get up every morning with a smile on my face. As well, I’ve written seven short classical preludes for piano, available for free at ChuckWild.com (including pdf sheet music), and am about one-third of the way through a long form (22 minute) piano sonata at the moment.
John: I enjoyed reading more about your fascinating life and career while preparing for our interview together Chuck. I hope we have a chance to interview again in the future. In closing for now, I want to thank you again for giving everyone this opportunity to find out the latest news about you, and the music of Liquid Mind. Is there anything you would like to express to the fans that have supported you over the course of your career?
Chuck Wild: I’m incredibly grateful to fans of Liquid Mind, and the many healthcare practitioners that use my music for healing. There is no greater reward for me than knowing someone’s life is made easier by listening to my music. Thanks so much, John, for this opportunity to be part of your wonderful website. I want you to know how much I and many other artists appreciate your support of the music profession and music creators.
To listen to samples or purchase songs and albums by Liquid Mind®, visit LiquidMindMusic.com. To learn more about Chuck’s non-Liquid Mind projects at ChuckWild.com. To find album and single digital downloads, CDs and song samples, visit Liquid Mind at RealMusic.com. Liquid Mind albums and songs may also be sampled or purchased at Amazon.com and iTunes.com. Follow Chuck at Facebook and Twitter social media. Photo and cover art courtesy Chuck Wild & Glen Wexler.
Deep Alpha by Steven Halpern – GRAMMY® Nominated Album in the New Age Music Category at the 55th GRAMMY® Awards.
The new age album Deep Alpha has a unique distinction from the majority of new age recordings produced in 2012 by Steven Halpern’s Nomination for Best New Age Album in the 55th GRAMMY® Awards set for February 10, 2013.
Steven Halpern is a best-selling recording artist who is widely accepted as one of the earliest originators of healing music. With over 6 million albums sold, you will find his music is a source of admiration for fans and colleagues alike.
Credited for his early music and scientific studies in the field of therapeutic music, his leading role as producer of healing music has resulted in many of the best albums made specifically for relaxation, yoga and stress relief.
New age music albums produced by Steven Halpern frequently make the Top 10 Charts at Billboard. In fact a comparable album titled Deep Theta: High Coherence Soundscapes For Meditation And Healing is presently listed at #6 in the Billboard Top 10 New Age Chart, having held a position in the Top 10 Chart for the past 18 weeks.
Produced by a leading authority in the field of healing music Deep Alpha, with 14 songs at over an hour in length is an exceptional blend of electronic and instrumental new age music produced in 2012 by recording artist Steven Halpern.
Comparable to all of his music the tonal atmosphere is composed with a scientific approach to promote the healing power of music. Having produced over 70 recordings to date, his music is perfect for massage, meditation, stress management and yoga.
For the leading new age recording artist Steven Halpern this year could yield a long overdue and much deserved GRAMMY® Award. When you visit his website you will find special discount pricing on his selection of audio CDs in celebration of his 38th year anniversary, so the time is right to purchase his albums.
Find more about the artist Steven Halpern and sample or purchase Deep Alpha: Brainwave Synchronization for Meditation and Healing at InnerPeaceMusic.com. Photography is courtesy innerpeacemusic.com.
Exclusive Song Compilation – Official 2013 GRAMMY® Nominees Compilation Album with 22 songs by 22 of today’s top artists.
Today on January 22, 2013 The Recording Academy released the GRAMMY® Nominees CD Album for 2013. This special vocal and instrumental release like previous year Nominees Song CDs is an exclusive compilation album by the overall number of songs by many of today’s most popular artists.
The 22 songs by contemporary artists are among the top tier of popular artists who are candidates in the 55th Annual GRAMMY® Awards scheduled for February 10, 2013 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.
For fans of vocal and instrumental songs in a variety of popular music genres it’s a chance to own an exclusive song collection of music made popular by celebrity vocal artists, many of which have made Billboard and top of the radio charts.
The GRAMMY® Nominees Song CD for 2013 shines by the diverse multiplicity of the artists and vocalists involved, all of which are contenders in this year’s Award Ceremony including Record Of The Year, Album Of The Year, Song Of The Year, Best New Artist, and additional categories in the world’s most prestigious award.
This exclusive album is made available in the formats of CD or album download at Amazon and iTunes. Several customer album reviews at Amazon gave this release the highest rating. After sampling the 22 songs for myself it’s easy to see why.
The 22 artists on the GRAMMY® Nominees album for 2013 are: The Black Keys, Kelly Clarkson, Taylor Swift, Gotye, Katy Perry, Fun, Florence & The Machine, Pink, Maroon 5, Carly Rae Jepsen, Miguel, Ed Sheeran, Hunter Hayes, The Lumineers, Alabama Shakes, Mumford & Sons, Frank Ocean, Bruce Springsteen, Jack White, Muse, Coldplay, and Adele.
The 22 songs on the compilation album are: Lonely Boy, Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You), We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together, Somebody That I Used to Know (feat. Kimbra), Wide Awake, We Are Young, Shake It Out, Try, Payphone (Edited Version featuring Wiz Khalifa), Call Me Maybe, Adorn, The A Team, Wanted, Ho Hey, Hold On, I Will Wait, Pyramids, We Take Care Of Our Own, Freedom At 21, Madness, Charlie Brown, Set Fire To The Rain and (Live At The Royal Albert Hall).
A portion of the proceeds benefit two charitable organizations founded by The Recording Academy. Plus there are two chances to enter and win a trip to the Award Ceremonies in 2013 and 2014. Find information and sample or purchase at Amazon or iTunes by visiting 2013GrammyAlbum.com. Big Stock Photo – AnmFoto.
Pianist Jim Brickman – Concert Tour Schedule for 2012 & 2013.
Multi-platinum selling pianist Jim Brickman is one of today’s contemporary artists whose selection of romantic piano and Christmas music spans across a wide selection of popular music genres. With 6 Gold and Platinum albums, 2 GRAMMY® Nominations, and 30 chart topping adult radio hits, no doubt Jim Brickman is accustomed to being the recipient of prestigious awards and recognition.
Along with 2 SESAC Songwriter of the Year awards, a Canadian Country Music Award, and a Gospel Music Association Dove Award, top artist Jim Brickman is tied for the most #1 albums in Billboard’s New Age charts. Likewise, Jim Brickman is renowned as the greatest pianist in the Adult Contemporary genre category, having made the Billboard Charts more than any other male performer.
Presently Jim Brickman’s Romanza album, which peaked at the #1position, has spent a total of 51 weeks in Billboard’s Top 10 New Age Chart. With this high favorability rating, chart topping hits, and music awards, no wonder Jim Brickman is one of America’s favorite concert performers in the instrumental music category.
Jim Brickman’s Holiday Concert Tour in 2012, is billed as “Jim Brickman on a Winter’s Night.” According to his website the 2012 concert tour began on November 2, 2012 in Lake Jackson, Texas with numerous concert dates scheduled in 2012. The Jim Brickman Concert Tour for 2013 begins on January 19, 2013 in the Caribbean Islands, with the show taking place during the Jim Brickman Cruise for 2013. Given his popularity, it’s easy to see why he is considered one of the top recording concert pianists in the new age instrumental music category.
There are presently around 50 concert dates scheduled between the 2012 Concert starting date and the up to date of March 28, 2013 in Sherwood Park, Alberta, Canada at the Festival Place, so check the Jim Brickman Concert Tour Page for 2012 – 2013. There are sure to be upcoming show additions so check back for concert schedule updates in your area. If you missed it, read my Interview with Jim Brickman. For news and information visit JimBrickman.com and find full concert schedule on the Jim Brickman 2012 – 2013 Tour Page. Photo courtesy jimbrickman.com.
Nicholas Gunn Interview – Special News in 2013 and Forward:
Multi-platinum recording artist Nicholas Gunn is a classically trained flutist recognized as one of the best-selling instrumental flutists worldwide.
Famous for the contemporary atmosphere and resounding beauty of his music, Nicholas Gunn has achieved earlier success of over 2 million albums sold, having become a legendary artist in the instrumental music industry, with many of his albums reaching the Top 10 Billboard Charts.
Nicholas Gunn’s newest instrumental release for 2012, and perhaps most significant of all is his fourteenth album named Thirty-One Nights, which arrives after an interval of 5 years. The highest standards we have come to expect are expertly portrayed on Thirty-One Nights, which enlists the world-class talents of vocalist Dana Kemmerle, along with acoustic guitarist Chris Fossek.
New Age Music World host John P. Olsen had an opportunity to interview Nicholas Gunn months prior to 2013. During the newest interview with Nicholas Gunn the range of topic include a conversation about his new album, history and career as an artist, National Park albums, and the Gemini Sun Records Label he once owned and operated.
Nicholas Gunn also states his views on today’s music industry and the upcoming Ballots and Nominations for the 55th GRAMMY® Awards. And perhaps most importantly, Nicholas Gunn has released a significant news announcement regarding his music career going forward. Today we are pleased to present their conversation to fans, and to Music World site visitors.
John P. Olsen: Thank you for accepting my interview invitation Nicholas. It is a privilege to host your newest interview in 2012, here at New Age Music World. I have been a huge fan of your music for many years, plus I enjoyed reading even more about you while preparing for our interview together. I must say you have experienced a fascinating life and career Nicholas.
Nicholas Gunn: Thank you John, it is really a pleasure to be a part of your music forum today, and it’s great to see how popular New Age Music World has become.
John: Thanks for your compliment! Let me begin with your earliest experiences as a musician, since your educational studies seem to have been a formative influence in the music you produce today. You were born in South East England, and were academically trained from age 7 to 11 in classical music at the Royal Academy of Music conservatoire in the UK. While attending the Royal Academy of Music, what led you to choose woodwinds over other instruments, and would you please tell us about your earliest academic studies, training and first introduction to music while living in the UK?
Nicholas Gunn: I grew up in a small, quaint village called Hartlip in Kent County England. It was in many ways a beautiful childhood. I think when there is that much space around you and the chatter is minimized, it’s easier to focus on things such as music. When I was around 5 or 6 I used to watch Top of the Pops on TV and tap away on the side of the couch. I think my folks were listening carefully to see if I had any sense of rhythm and inclination for music.
My Grandfather was a professional guitar player with The Felix Mendelssohn Orchestra so I think there was a desire in many ways to keep the music going in the family. I remember at 6 seeing a performance on TV of Sir James Galway and thinking how beautiful the flute sounded. It stuck with me and when my folks asked me what I wanted to play as an instrument that’s immediately what I said. It’s crazy really, the next thing I know I am taking lessons at 6 from the Royal Marines Bands principle flautist, Mick Judson. An incredible experience, full of wonder and endless possibilities!
He would come to my house in Hartlip once or twice a week for lessons and I would take my exams in London; it was a lot for a young kid but really rewarding. He was a great instructor and man, and a big part of the foundation my music is built upon. One time, Mick allowed me to sit with him in the pit orchestra to the musical Oliver in London, and I remember having a brief encounter with Sir James Galway during this time and thinking, this is really what I want to do!
By the time we moved to Los Angeles in 1979 I had music training most eleven year olds rarely acquire and was a misfit really. It was tough, as an eleven year old boy, walking with your flute to band through junior high school. I witnessed a huge disparity in culture and acceptance of art on multiple levels. It was cruel and I was pissed off at these kids that bullied me. There were several occasions I would walk outside of gym class and I would have my ass handed to me on a platter for playing flute. Its cliche really, all band kids experience bullying, some more than others, it’s just the way it was and sometimes still is. My music holds a sense of compassion I have trouble finding otherwise. I believe it has healed me and allowed me an outlet of expression to resolve these feelings for myself. I like to believe there is no anger in my music, just love, beauty, compassion, and acceptance. I wanted to convey that message.
John: Knowing now that the Royal Academy of Music Alumni include other great artists like Elton John, Annie Lennox and Michael Nyman, and others; did you appreciate the fact at the time you were beginning a strong foundation for a successful music career later in life?
Nicholas Gunn: No, not really, not at that time. I had no idea about any of those things. It was more a feeling of this is what everyone does. When you are that young, there is no real sense for “aligning” yourself within academics or community. I pretty much followed what my folks told me to do, and believed it to be normal, and now have immense appreciation for them guiding me and recognizing my potential.
John: Classical music influences are apparent in your compositions, including your new album Thirty-One Nights. What classical music elements, for example structure, rhythm or metrics, do you find most appealing?
Nicholas Gunn: I have to say it’s the interplay between rhythm and melody. Being a flautist, I studied mostly counterpoint theory at the academy. We poured over the great composers in detail and I absorbed the constant interplay you find in lead lines, counter melody lines, and the foundation it all sits upon; rhythm. I believe that one essential element of music is structure. Meaning; memorable, reoccurring, lasting melody will always make an impression on the listener over a long extended period of time.
As an instrumentalist I find it even more important to remember this. Strong verse, chorus, turnaround and bridge are vital to great compositions. If the music lacks a lyric and a vocal, I believe it’s even more important to impress structure and melody on the listener. Think about it, music in the moment can be inspirational, but if one can reflect upon a composition because of its melody and literally be transported to that moment in time again, that is the true essence of the music experience on the human experience.
John: What was the turning point when you decided to pursue a challenging career as an artist?
Nicholas Gunn: When I was around 16-17 years old I side stepped flute for a few years and took up drums, playing in both marching band and several rock bands. I literally played the kit in every bar on the Sunset Strip over a three year period including The Whiskey, The Roxy, Madam Wong’s, The Troubadour, etc. It was a great experience at a very young age and it gave me the douse of confidence I needed. I had a brief stint doing some commercials and modeling as well and actually made a few bucks but that’s a whole different story! I came out of this phase “knowing” I guess you could say, that there was only one direction for me, and that was to fully immerse myself into creating my own instrumental music.
I was a huge fan of Vangelis, Jean Michael Jarre, Pink Floyd etc., and saw that instrumental music had its place in the market and was growing at that time. I bought some recording gear and schooled myself in engineering and production, learning how to get recordings to sound great! I went down to Westlake Studios and other studios in West Hollywood and just hung out asking awesome stupid questions and rubbing shoulders with the best engineers. There was no question afterward that I was fiercely dedicated to making my own music.
John: You released your first album Afternoon In Sedona in 1992, and a year later re-released Afternoon In Sedona thru the Real Music record label, which directly influenced sales, and changed the course of your career, isn’t that right?
Nicholas Gunn: That’s pretty accurate I would say. Before being signed to Real Music I had worked pretty hard to get popular retail chains such as Natural Wonders and Nature Company to recognize myself release of Afternoon in Sedona. Those were great retail chains and they focused on a select amount of instrumental titles in their thousands of high end stores. It was easy math really; mass retail exposure, select titles, genre specific, those were great days for sales! I had sent Real Music several submissions of Afternoon in Sedona but it was only until Natural Wonders showed interest they offered me a deal. It made sense for everyone and we re-worked the album a little and re-released in 1993 to moderate success, not big success mind you! There was a heightened awareness of the product but it was not until my second album The Sacred Fire that things changed drastically.
John: That’s right your 1994 release The Sacred Fire, was the first album to make the Top 10 Billboard Charts in the new age category. Were you surprised by making the Billboard Top 10 New Age chart verses another category since your albums can be placed in a broader, instrumental or world music category?
Nicholas Gunn: No, I was not surprised actually. Real Music had made it clear we were binning the album New Age at retail. Back in those days, binning was integral to sales and exposure and once you chose your category, well you’re pretty much stuck, especially if you sell.
The New Age chart was an accessible chart as well, meaning it was an emerging genre and not so saturated with other artists. The Sacred Fire actually did not receive its initial success at conventional retail but started selling big at both Natural Wonders and at Nature Company.
The album was literally blowing out the doors holding a #1 chart position in the chains for a year or so. Around this time conventional retail chains such as Borders and Barnes were watching this emerging genre closely and started to expand their New Age Music selections and positioning.
The Sacred Fire album, along with my third album, The Music of the Grand Canyon, which closely followed, was embraced and we finally received chart position through sales at these and similar retail chains.
John: I must say your newest release Thirty-One Nights, which debuted on the Billboard Top Ten New Age Chart, is a beautifully designed album Nicholas. Your albums have consistently made the Top 10 Billboard Charts over the years, so I wondered is making the Billboard Chart is an accurate litmus test for an album’s success over the long haul?
Nicholas Gunn: Thank you John, I am happy to hear Thirty-One Nights resonates with you. This is a great question, but I think it’s important to clarify what Billboard chart position actually means as it seems there is a general misunderstanding of how the system really works. Billboard is an independent trade magazine that reports industry sales via chart position. Billboard receives its sales data from another company called Soundscan.
Soundscan retrieve its sales data from Soundscan retail members. For example, Wal-Mart pays an annual fee to be a member of Soundscan, required by the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) that they participate as a major and recognized record retailer. Barcodes at the register are scanned upon sale and sent to Soundscan acknowledging each sale. At major online retailers such as iTunes it is via the embedded ISRC code on the MP3 data through digital download.
Depending on the zip code of sale, one sale can actually represent two or more sales due to the remote location of the sale and person per capita of the zip code. If you are a small retailer, mom or pop store, or even a significant type of other retailer, then most often, these retailers are not participating members of Soundscan. Sales in turn are not being reported, at all! At the height of my sales through alternative retailers such as Nature Company, Natural Wonders, National Park stores, hundreds of thousands of sales went unrecognized as they were not members of Soundscan. There are no gold or platinum records on my walls despite my significant overall sales within the industry.
The Billboard chart positions I actually received over the years were from a fraction of these sales through member participating retailers such as Borders, Barnes, Sam Goody, etc. With that said, while Billboard is indeed an actual litmus test of the success of a title, it does not represent the overall sales performance of a title accurately. My mentor, Harvey Cooper, always said; “Comments and opinions of music are only perceptions but real sales are a true indicator of commercial success.”
John: On your fourteenth album Thirty-One Nights, I must say you have a great team with vocalist Dana Kemmerle and guitarist Chris Fossek. How did you meet Dana and Chris, and could you tell us about the project you created together?
Nicholas Gunn: I met both Chris Fossek and Dana Kemmerle in Santa Barbara, CA. Chris was a local accomplished musician, who has been playing the Santa Barbara circuit for some time. I heard him at a local wine bar and quickly realized this guy had great technique and style. At that time I was starting to formulate what I wanted to do for a new album and listening to him play was really inspiring! I got to know Chris over a period of months before we started tracking together and we became tight friends.
We are the same kind of people, infusing our music with our life experiences! Chris wrote several pieces on the album which allows it to transition beautifully at two main points; Candle Dance & From Water to Wind. Chris also wrote the title track Thirty-One Nights which sets the tone of the album so well. Dana is an absolute breathe of fresh air. After deciding to finish her graduate degree at UCSB in global studies our paths crossed at the very same wine bar I first met Chris in.
Dana has been the core inspiration behind the experience and story that became Thirty-One Nights. I was going through a very difficult time with many changes in my life and she was continuing on with her studies in Spain and in Mexico. We became romantically involved and the next thing I know I asked her to record some spoken word vocals on a track that became track 13 Recuerdame, on the album.
She has a gorgeous balanced tone in her speaking voice and it was an instant match and hit for me in the studio and many more tracks followed! It’s difficult to make spoken word work within music; it has to be just right! Dana and I now work passionately together in many aspects of our lives. We spent thirty one nights together in Mexico recording flutes on top of Mayan pyramids and writing poetry deep in the jungle. She’s one smart cookie, has a healthy and balanced perspective on life, and someone I want to associate and grow with for a very long time.
John: What are the vital key elements Dana and Chris convey to your instrumental with vocals composition Thirty-One Nights?
Nicholas Gunn: Well, Chris comes from an extremely studied background in music with a master’s degree from Cal Arts in Flamenco guitar. It was important to me that I had an authentic approach and sound for Thirty-One Nights. Authentic Flamenco playing includes so many different aspects, such as the knocking on the guitar body, types of open strumming and closed strumming and where picking occurs over the sound hole. Even finer details, such as which part of the finger nail is used to create different sounds against the string, are all important factors!
The guitar itself is vital to the sound. Chris plays on a handcrafted Manuel Bellido guitar which includes design features such as a wider neck and intricate body/sound hole design. Nylon strings are always used, of a certain type, and after a certain amount of wear. There are no pickups used in recording and a single microphone placement to capture a clean natural sound. These are all important factors that create a certain resonance consistent with Flamenco guitar. His writing style is also different than mine which lends to a well-balanced album that transitions at all the right spots. It’s a good partnership in that we are different in all the right ways! With Dana it is about a personal and emotional connection that is intimate.
We experienced Thirty-One Nights together in real time and she has watched, supported, and participated in the unfolding of the album over a year and a half. She has a beautiful speaking voice and her bilingual abilities were a perfect and authentic evocative addition to the album. I have used spoken word sparingly before, and I am telling you, it’s a hard thing to pull off! Dana just had this tone and approach that was, well otherworldly, very seductive such as on The Swallows of Na’ Lu’um. We walked together through jungles, remote Mayan pyramids, went cave diving in Senotes, and used this experience to fuel creativity. Dana wrote about her experiences and created poetry centric to the experience. Dana and I are continuing to work on other exciting projects and in business together. We are partners in many ways.
John: Would you like to tell us more of the story for Thirty-One Nights, and inspiration behind the songs?
Nicholas Gunn: There is a special Thirty-One Nights storybook PDF, with personal photos, that is embedded on the CD and is also available with a full album download. It would be my pleasure to share this with your readers and is the best way to answer this question. Enjoy!
John: I read Thirty-One Nights had a release date of September 11, 2012. Was there any significance of releasing Thirty-One Nights on 9/11, a date now recognized as the American Federal Holiday – Patriot Day?
Nicholas Gunn: No, not at all. Here is the thing; September 11th is a recognized national street date with most major music distributors. This street date has long been in place before the unfortunate events of 9/11. I decided to sign with label Spring Hill Media, distributed by Allegro Media and their system adheres to these dates. I try not to make any political or religious references in my music and this date did not influence me in any way. A broad stroke approach to creating provocative, moving, and inspirational music is my only goal.
John: You have a great number of National Park records, which began under Real Music Record Label. The Music of the Grand Canyon, Beyond Grand Canyon, Through the Great Smoky Mountains, Journey to Yellowstone, plus there are others. How and why did you become involved with the production of National Parks releases?
Nicholas Gunn: Shortly after The Sacred Fire was released (1994) Real Music approached me about a series of recordings they were developing called The National Park Series. I believe they already had one in the bag and it had sold well in its early stages focusing on park stores and alternative retail such Natural Wonders and Nature Company. The idea fit perfectly into the current trend and retail base. My albums initially were inspired by natural surroundings so it was a perfect fit. It was a huge success and continues to be a great catalog album. Naturally, I continued to release additional National Park albums based on request as well as desire to sustain sales and awareness for our National Parks.
John: Every one of your National Park albums is like a colorful canvas. Each has their own merits, but how would you best describe the sound qualities of your National Park releases?
Nicholas Gunn: Cinematic is the word that always comes to mind for me. Cinematic music to me is like a soundtrack to be played against experiencing these natural wonders. Over and over again, I have received letters and emails from folks saying “we drove to the South Rim listening to The Music of the Grand Canyon” or “hiked the Appalachian Trail listening to Through the Great Smoky Mountains.”
Like Thirty-One Nights these albums were inspired, in essence, by travel and geographic location. The only difference being that my artist persona somewhat hid behind the National Park theme.
John: In the late 1990’s you founded the Anagram Records Label, and earlier you founded Gemini Sun Records, a label with numerous award-winning artist, many of whom were artists like yourself who made the Top Ten Billboard Charts. Who are some of the artists on the Gemini Sun Record Label under your direction?
Nicholas Gunn: Anagram existed for only around a year or so when I was previously married and it had two other license deals, one with Mars Lasar and one with Loren Gold as well as Cheryl Gunn’s titles and a few of mine as well. When I was divorced, Anagram dissolved and I started Gemini Sun Records. Gemini Sun Records also closed for business in 2009. Both were started as a way to represent artists in the genre of New Age/World Music that was steadily shrinking.
Labels such as Higher Octave, Windham Hill, and Narada were closing or being sold off to the majors as their assets in masters and publishing were the only thing left, sales were dwindling fast! The days of supporting retail such as Natural Wonders and Nature Company were now gone and artists coming off of these closing labels needed a home. Gemini Sun became that home for a select few; David Arkenstone, 2002, Mars Lasar, Medwyn Goodall, through MG Music, Loren Gold, and myself were just a few of the artists it represented!
John: Would you like to tell us some of the highlights and other aspects, including the drawbacks of owning your own record label?
Nicholas Gunn: In my opinion, it’s a trap in many ways and little positive to talk about. It’s a thankless job that few take on to the degree I did as an artist owned label. I took it on to increase my profitability per sale, to make a difference in a market segment, and to represent great music and artists allowing them to own their own property (masters and publishing). Most artists block the desire to want to know or deal with national distribution, marketing, and promotion – and for good reason! It’s as stressful as hell!
The intricacies of managing the small margins associated with indie national distribution, marketing, and promotion of a niche label within a declining industry, within a declining economy is nothing short of a nightmare! Distributors are set up to protect their bottom line, at all costs! By cross collateralizing all returns, marketing, and promotion against all sales, the music business on this level is nothing more than a consignment business at massive risk to the label. If you couple that with major retailers who fail to comply with retail campaigns but then charge for the advertising they failed to comply with, it’s a fundamentally flawed system that produced the music industry we see and experience today.
John: The entire music industry as a whole has greatly changed over the years since you began producing music. What are some observations you have made over the years, and in what way has the music industry changed, for better or worse?
Nicholas Gunn: It’s still finding its way, but for the better! Like any business, it’s all about supply and demand and there is little demand for music sales as it used to exist. Music sales are not the future that I am relatively sure of! The use of music continues to be high, but through streaming, illegal downloading and sharing, and second hand online sales from the massive returns and recycling of the music industry as a whole. It’s all spread very thin at little profit to anyone, including the labels. I think there are a few models to watch, one of which would be the Electronic Dance Music market (EDM).
This is a model that has been born in the new distribution and profiteering age of music. Here is a platform with which DJ’s are now producing their own content in the studio and performing through the DJ method at low cost and extremely high output. The concept of sales has never been a priority and sharing/remixing within the community is embraced as a way to popularize the genre and its originating artist. The revenues are in packing 100,000 fans into a venue with the requirement the DJ/Producer simply show up with their gear over their shoulder! It’s brilliant!
The top ten DJ/Producers last year collectively made 127 million dollars and stand atop the industry money making leaders. Now, I am not talking about wedding DJ’s, I am talking about talented DJ/Producers – there’s a big difference! Secondly, and this is important I believe, we need to realize that music, especially in recorded form, is now highly dispensable and transferable. A great song, performance, and recording is still just that, great! It will always be consumed, but the real question becomes what will be the support mechanism that will allow for the creation and performance of this content?
Successful artists have a somewhat self-sustaining system, however how does a new unsigned artist become self-sustaining? I believe we are reverting back to the times when art was supported by benefactors and leaders within both business and government. Companies need art to further define and align their products within the marketplace, and leaders of countries will continue to require education and culture in arts to further the human race. It’s now about selling your talent to a group that needs your involvement to further its own cause, that’s how I see it.
John: Can you foresee any trends developing that may influence your work and perhaps the work of other artists as a whole?
Nicholas Gunn: Quite frankly, this is my last album in the genre for the foreseeable future. I have a great passion for all music and the music business itself and I find the trend of developing more instrumental music within the current instrumental market place quite frustrating and stifling. There really are no venues that support the live performance of this genre and sales are at an all-time low. It’s a testament to my love of the genre that has produced Thirty-One Nights. I wanted to have an album I personally could be really proud of as my departure album.
On the side over the years I have produced my fair share of EDM as it does tend to border on instrumental at times. I have partnered with artist/vocalist Carmen Rainier and we have a project in the works titled (We Are) Nexus. It’s refreshing and invigorating to be a part of a larger and emerging music community that fully embraces the future of the music business. I am a musician and producer first and foremost and I got into this business for my work to be heard. This is the next chapter of my musical career.
John: I heard Thirty-One Nights is on the upcoming nomination ballot for Best New Age Album in the 55th GRAMMY® Awards on Feb. 10, 2013.You will know if nominated on December 5, 2012 isn’t that right, and is there any manner in which Nicholas Gunn fans can support your nomination for a possible music award?
Nicholas Gunn: Actually, it is on the ballot for Best World Music Album which I believe is more appropriate for the album itself. Yes, December 5th is when I will know if Thirty-One Nights receives a nomination. The award is really a peer recognition process of which fans have little part in unless they are a voting member of the academy. All I can say is that after 14 albums, two million sales, and 55 consecutive weeks on the Billboard chart it would be nice to be recognized by my peers; however it will not change the way I go about developing the next chapter of my musical career.
John: Naturally a GRAMMY® Award would put you in the spotlight as an artist, but aside from your own talents as a musician, what external factors have been the greatest influences to your success?
Nicholas Gunn: I would say it’s in taking the risk of wearing all these hats over the years as an artist, writer, producer, engineer, label owner. They all make up for my experience in the business and how I now see the business. Granted, closing my label was an awful experience but liberating and defining all at the same moment. Every passionate path is littered with debris of some sorts and it’s having those experiences that have given me a greater understanding of what I want and what I don’t want. I believe my most successful days lie ahead of me because of this.
John: During your career you have contributed money to the National Park organization, American Lung Association, plus you are on the board of directors for the Children’s Creative Project (CCP), in Santa Barbara, California. Clearly the arts and music education for children and other charitable organizations are important to you. Would you like to tell us about your Philanthropy work, and why it is important to you on a personal level?
Nicholas Gunn: Arts and education for children is paramount. I am a result of parents and a system that exposed me to a finer education in art and music. As a society, we tend to embrace mediocrity as a way to shy away from having to learn more about something, it’s an innate human trait. I sit on the board for the Children’s Creative Project because it grants much needed funding for events that expose children to fine art. It’s simply a matter of proper exposure. We become mediocre when we get older, but we are not that way as children. We learn what we are taught and we soak it all up, no matter which way it comes at us early in life. Real Music initiated the donation to The Grand Canyon Association from sales of The Music of the Grand Canyon.
It was and still is a wonderful cause as the money promotes education and awareness of preservation to both children and adults. This trend carried forth for me through realizing it’s important to give back in this manner. Money is cyclical. You have to give as much as you receive.
John: I would love to release some Nicholas Gunn news about a new project or a concert tour in the planning stages. Is there any additional news you would like to officially announce today?
Nicholas Gunn: I am sorry to say I think the biggest news might be found in my departure from the genre for the foreseeable future. But on a positive note, I have much to give and much to share, only within a different genre. I recently launched a new current events news page at NicholasGunn.com/News. I recommend everyone visit to see what’s new there!
John: Nicholas you are a legendary instrumental artist, regardless of genre or classification, and that my friend will never change! Needless to say I trust we will have a chance to interview again in the future. In closing for now, I want to thank you again for giving everyone this opportunity to find out the latest news about you, and your newest project with Dana Kemmerle and Chris Fossek. Is there anything you would like to say before we close, or express to the fans that have supported you over the course of your career?
Nicholas Gunn: I do want to thank, from the bottom of my heart, the valued fans that have supported me over the years. For passionate people such as you John that still see the value and potential in this beautiful genre of music. There are so many people really, over the years, that have helped me realize my goals, and of course I thank them all. I am eternally grateful.
For more information visit NicholasGunn.com. Sample or purchase albums and songs at the Nicholas Gunn music shop. Find details like the making of Thirty-One Nights, info about Dana and Chris, and visit Nicholas at social sites like Facebook. You can also find albums at major online music stores, including the artist page for Nicholas Gunn at Amazon.com. Interview photos are courtesy nicholasgunn.com & Big Stock Photo – Ardith.
Newest Interview with Pianist David Lanz prior to 2013.
Platinum selling pianist David Lanz is a legendary instrumental recording and concert artist who achieved worldwide prominence early on in the New Age music genre, and over the course of his lengthy career which spans decades. Today David Lanz is recognized as one of the leading concert pianists, and instrumental recording artist.
David Lanz celebrates the 25 year anniversary of Cristofori’s Dream in 2012 by the release of a brand new recorded version of his most popular piano album. New Age Music World host John P. Olsen had an opportunity to interview David Lanz prior to the New Year 2013.
This newest interview covers a variety of topics, including the new solo piano, and piano with instrumental recordings of Cristofori’s Dream, Liverpool – Re-imagining the Beatles, Here Comes the Sun, and a new Christmas album project scheduled for release in 2012.
During this interview with David Lanz there are also questions about his career achievements and personal style as composer. We are pleased to present their conversation to David Lanz’s international fan base and our site visitors.
John P. Olsen: Thank you for giving everyone a moment of your time David. Like your fans, I too have admired your music for many years, so our interview today is especially rewarding to me.
You gained prominence as a new age artist early in your career, and have enjoyed many successes along the way. Let me begin our interview by first congratulating you on a remarkable 25 year career David!
David Lanz: Thanks John, I am happy to be here and speaking with you today!
John: Decades ago you helped put the New Age Music Genre on the forefront by release of Cristofori’s Dream. In fact Billboard Magazine selected Cristofori’s Dream as the #1 album in 1988 when they introduced the Billboard Adult Alternative/New Age Album Chart for the first time. Are you optimistic your 2012 Cristofori’s Dream releases, in either version, may make the Billboard Chart again?
David Lanz: That would be great, however I do not really pay as much attention to charts anymore and without a major label doing the leg work, it may be a stretch, but hope springs eternal – right?
John: Was the overwhelming success of Cristofori’s Dream in 1988 a surprise to you at all, or did you feel after completion you had produced an album, many people then and now consider a masterpiece?
David Lanz: I remember both Paul Speer and I (Paul was my co-producer) sitting and listening to the final mix and thinking, “This is a good record.” That was our response, so the overwhelming success did catch us a bit off guard! When you are doing your work-you don’t really stop to think about its impact, only that you are either satisfied or not.
John: Cristofori’s Dream is your most popular album. What do you feel are the key characteristics about the original Cristofori’s Dream that have made this one of your top selling albums of all time?
David Lanz: There were a number of factors. The timing was right, as radio was very open to the album. The cover version of A Whiter Shade of Pale was a great bridge between pop instrumental and New Age music, and the fact that I had tapped into history by bringing Cristofori’s work and name into the hearts, minds, and ears of the public was a major factor I believe.
John: How are the first and second Cristofori’s Dream albums alike, and in what ways do the two albums vary?
David Lanz: Well, the list of songs is the same, but they have been opened up a bit with variations and improvisation and recorded as solo piano pieces this time, without the extras like strings, synths, percussion, etc.
We have also included several bonus tracks not found on the original and created a 16-page booklet that gets into the making of as well as giving historical background on Cristofori himself.
John: During the early years when you lived in Seattle Washington you played in bands, covering a variety of music genres including Rock, Pop, Jazz and Blues. You are widely recognized as an innovator and new age music superstar by your early recordings. In retrospect, what was the catalyst that began your transition to composing and performing new age music?
David Lanz: As I matured as a musician, and as a spiritually aware human, I looked around to see what I could contribute through my music, and the answer was found in a more introspective music and an attitude that focused on the attributes of healing and relaxation. This was the answer to my question, “What does the world need from me?”
John: I have always felt the Piano is perhaps one of the best instruments to express the depth of oneself on a personal level. What was the connection, or reasons you chose the piano over other instruments?
David Lanz: Well that was pretty simple. Both my grandmother and mother played the piano, and they each had pianos in their homes, so I was exposed to that influence as a child and had a natural curiosity about the piano, which led my mother to get me started with piano lessons before I was even 5 years old.
John: As an original song composer, how do you go about the process of composing solo piano music?
David Lanz: That is a big question. Honestly, every song has its own story of origin. The easiest answer is I sometimes just sit at the piano, and improvise until I play something that catches my ear – and it goes from there. There are times however when something in my life will directly affect me emotionally, and then I am able to transform those feelings into music.
John: What led you to compose Cristofori’s Dream?
David Lanz: There is a great explanation of that in the liner notes of the new recording. The spark, the divine seed if you will for Cristofori’s Dream, was found in Judith Oringer’s book, Passion for the Piano, a gift received from a good friend, and a very fortuitous gift it turned out to be! In the forward of this book about the piano and various pianists throughout history, was a dedication to a one, Bartolomeo Cristofori, “the inventor of the piano.”
You could have knocked me over with a feather! There I stood in the middle of my kitchen, mouth agape, a thirty something year old pianist who had played the piano most of his life, but had never once stopped to consider that the piano had an inventor. Hello!
Immediately upon seeing the name Cristofori, my imagination mimicked the name and whispered in my mind, “Christ-Euphoria,” followed directly by the title, Cristofori’s Dream. This was a defining moment! It was also highly unusual for me, as song titles rarely appear like this, if ever, or precede a composition, almost always coming to me during or even after a piece has been composed.”
John: You have more new releases for 2012 including The Beatles inspired Here Comes The Sun, which is available in two separate versions. Apart from the solo piano and piano with instrumental aspects, what are the style variances in the way they were composed and recorded?
David Lanz: I always arrange my pieces to stand alone as solo piano arrangements. I do usually leave space in my arrangements as a matter of style. This allows the use of other instruments, but the piano always carries the melody and can easily standalone without any other musical embellishment.
John: Liverpool – Re-imagining the Beatles & Here Comes the Sun are both beautiful with exclusive variations in style. What are the distinctions from one another?
David Lanz: Liverpool was recorded pretty much live in the studio with a bit larger cast of musician, including drums and hand percussion, making rhythm a larger part of the sound. On Here Comes The Sun, we have more of a chamber sound with the music being performed on piano cello and flute only.
We referred to ourselves (the 3 of us) as the Liverpool Trio, and performed as the same. Both albums feature primarily the music of Lennon and McCartney, but Here Comes The Sun of course features that wonderful piece from George Harrison as well as an original piece I dedicated to both him and George Martin entitled Sir George-Liverpool Farewell.
John: Clearly The Beatles influence on music worldwide cannot be overstated, but on a personal level, what elements about The Beatles music that compels you to compose and perform their cover songs?
David Lanz: I grew up as a musician and a young composer, being much influenced by the way they composed their songs. I wanted to pass the torch, so to speak, as I have a younger generation of composers who look too my work. I wanted them to see where much of my early influence and inspiration has come from. I believe our early influences really help to shape us in whatever we do in life.
John: How do you make your song selections from the many great albums and songs by The Beatles?
David Lanz: That was a very long process of listening and just trying them out on the piano to see how they laid under my hands. It was a very long labor of love!
John: You also have a brand new songbook titled The David Lanz Collection 2000-2011, which is a special group of songs with a connection to family and friends. Would you like to give the details about this new songbook collection?
David Lanz: it was simply a way to put a few highlights from the last decade of music I’ve composed and recorded into a collection for those folks who may only be exposed to my earlier work from the 80’s and 90’s.
There is a very special piece dedicated to my friend Robbie King, who was a musical mentor and passed away several years ago, leaving us much too soon!
John: Being a prolific artist, there is an endless list of albums to choose from out of your current album collection. For anyone who may be new to your music, what 2 albums would you suggest they sample or purchase from each of your solo piano works and piano with instrumentals?
David Lanz: Skyline Firedance features both solo and ensemble versions of the album’s material. Look at Romantic – The Ultimate David Lanz Collection (a 2-CD set with a nice cross section from the first two decades of material, both solo and ensemble) or Painting The Sun and A Cup of Moonlight are a nice representation at my current solo piano work.
John: Your piano sheet music is quite a hit, and very popular seller too, isn’t that right?
David Lanz: Everywhere I go, I hear from piano teachers that tell me my music is not only popular with their students, but it is easy to teach and laid out well. It makes them look good and everyone is happy. There is now over a quarter of a million books of my music out in the world!
John: That’s impressive to have such a popular selection David! I’ve heard the news you have a new Christmas album for 2012. Can you give the title, and when will you be releasing your new Christmas album?
David Lanz: We are working on having that out by mid-November. This is a solo piano collection of Christmas music entitled Joy Noel.
John: I hope to release additional news for your fans and our readers today if possible. Can you release any news information or perhaps plans for a new album project?
David Lanz: Well, after working on getting 2 new albums released in one year (don’t try that at home!) I will need to take a break and review my next project, which looks to be a solo piano recording. Much of the music is already sketched out, but I imagine I will jump back into to my composing, so stay tuned!
John: You have enjoyed a successful music career practically your entire life. What do you find the most rewarding experience as a professional musician?
David Lanz: Just being able to support my family and myself doing the work I love to do. I love being in the David Lanz business!
John: That’s great David, and I want to thank you again for giving everyone another opportunity to find out more about you, and your newest projects. I hope we can get together by another interview someday. Before we close, is there anything you would like to express to the fans that have supported you over the years?
David Lanz: I am and have been so grateful for the opportunity to express myself in music. To have been so embraced by my fans and other pianists is really overwhelming! I am extremely grateful for this opportunity to do my work and serve the world on my own terms!
Visit DavidLanz.com for news and information about concerts and workshops. Visit the DavidLanz.com Store for CD albums, downloads, and merchandise like DVDs, songbooks and sheet music. Visit the artist section for David Lanz at Amazon. Interview photos courtesy BHP Images, Carole May Images, Kyle Zimmerman & davidlanz.com.
Pre-release Instrumental Music Review: Tales of a Gypsy by Award-Winning, Latin Style Guitarist Johannes Linstead.
International recording artist Johannes Linstead is preparing to release a brand new 2012 follow up to his award-winning instrumental album Mistico. The name of the newest album to be released by the famed Latin style, world-fusion guitarist Johannes Linstead on October 22, 2012 is Tales of a Gypsy.
Like Mistico, Cafe Tropical, Encanto, Mediterranea and earlier highly praised releases by Johannes Linstead, Tales of a Gypsy is one among a vast number of new albums produced in 2012 to be in consideration for various best album award categories. From the start I can tell you many industry insiders will say Tales of a Gypsy is his best release yet!
For Johannes Linstead, accolades of his music by even the most popular music sites, however important, are welcomed but may have become commonplace. As the recipient of an impressive number of top music awards, a few include the honors of Best World Album, Best Acoustic Instrumental Album, Guitarist of the Year, World Artist of the Year, in addition to making the Billboard Top 10 Charts.
Tales of a Gypsy has 11 new songs by the champion Latin style guitarist you are sure to love. Beginning with the first song Jungle Love the listener is drawn into the exotic instrumental wonder in which Johannes Linstead thrives.
Reveling in producing music with upbeat tempos and intricate guitar riffs, flawless perfection is foremost while creating an environment of excitement for the listener. Along with songs of festive revelry you will hear in Tales of a Gypsy, moderately paced songs generate a wonderful sense of passion and enthusiasm by the intricately laid back instrumental harmony.
Tales of a Gypsy was created by a group of fine artists from around the globe. It’s the unity of these talented artists that have helped him create what can be considered his best album to date. Joining Johannes Linstead are Anastasios Bigas, Geoff Hlibka, Janljdan Ruiz, Sina Khosravl, Alex Godinez, Jordan Abraham. Special guest artists are Nicholas Gunn, Gisele Fredette and Vasyl Popadiouk.
With so many achievements another award may be regarded as one more official endorsement place upon his work. For Johannes Linstead however, I can imagine the highest honor he receives today may be an intrinsic one. The personal enjoyment knowing people simply love his music could be the best prize of all.
The 11 song titles on Tales of a Gypsy are Jungle Love, Noche de la Juerga, Swaying Palms, September Remembered, La Lunada, Vagabond Stomp, Bella! Bella!, Sosua Bay Sunset, Tales of a Gypsy, Flows Like Water, Caravan of Desire. Sevara is another artist name in which Johannes Linstead releases instrumental music. If you have a chance, listen to the album Everlasting Joy – Music for Yoga. It’s a beautiful album that yet again, highlights his expertise as a guitarist.
Visit JohannesLinstead.com for news. Famous for his live concert performances, Canadian Concertgoers can check out the Johannes Linstead 2012 Concert Tour Schedule. Prior to October 22, 2012 you may pre-order Tales of a Gypsy at Amazon. Photos are courtesy johanneslinstead.com.
Pre-release Album Review: Believe – A Spiritual Romance by music group 2002 – The 20th year Anniversary Collection.
The year was 1992 when husband and wife team, Randy and Pamela Copus of 2002, began their music careers with the belief they each possessed the talent it takes to become a successful music group. As anyone can imagine the long and winding road to prosperity has not been an easy road to travel as artists, but as others have said before – dreams do come true and success can be yours if you work hard, have faith, and believe in yourself.
Fast-forward twenty years into the future. Winning the admiration of many people along their journey, the year 2012 marks a 20th year anniversary for the award-winning group 2002. Today I can tell you as an instrumental music group, Randy and Pamela Copus have realized their dream by attaining a level of success they first envisioned for themselves 20 years ago.
It’s a great achievement which eludes the majority of artists I write about in the music business. For Randy, Pamela and newest band member and daughter Sarah Copus, their story continues to be an inspiration to those who know them best, including friends and fans of all nationalities.
Believe is the 14th album by Pamela and Randy Copus after releasing their first album as the music duo 2002 in 1992. Associated most often as top artists in the new age music category, the 10 contemporary instrumental songs on Believe is a progressive advancement from earlier releases by a majority of songs containing a variety of rock influences with flowing vocals and lyrical verses you will find inspiring.
Everyone will have their favorite songs on this release, and the great news is you will find many new favorites. Rarely do I hear so many exceptional songs on a single album, and as expected, their relentless attention to quality is present in every detail.
This more progressive style, merged with 2002’s signature sound, was actually a natural advancement for them since Pamela and Randy both began their professional careers playing and singing in bands. With 9 earlier albums making the Billboard Charts for a total of 270 weeks, their new release Believe could position 2002 in Billboard’s Top 10 New Age Chart again. It’s that good!
In the official 2002 newsletter they advised Believe is a departure from earlier releases since 6 songs contain vocals – like earlier songs Free to Fly, Moment of Love, Sarah’s Rainbow, Deep Still Blue & Remember Now. I remember thinking at the time it was a nice gesture to prepare fans about the vocals in an effort to prevent disappointing anyone, but in all honesty, after sampling Believe I now find it hard to imagine anyone not liking this album.
As one of the first to sample the album and write a review for Believe I am happy to report and say with confidence I anticipate that everyone will reach the same conclusion I have – Believe is a hot new release destined to be the best album ever by 2002! As for the artists Randy, Pamela and Sarah, today I am pleased to say their dream is alive and well.
The 10 songs are Believe, A Dream Creation, Chain of Life, We Meet Again, Dreams of Peace, A Change of Season, Ready To Fly, Yeshua, Oasis, Hold the Sky. Sample all songs from Believe at the 2002Music.com sample page.
Visit 2002Music.com and pre-order Believe at the 2002 store at Amazon.com and purchase mp3 digital songs at Amazon and iTunes October 16, 2012. Cover artwork by Taine LeCesne & photos are courtesy 2002music.com.
Thirty-One Nights by Nicholas Gunn in Billboard’s Top 10 Chart.
The newest album by Nicholas Gunn has apparently been a popular new hit album at Billboard for the week of September 29, 2012.This week Nicholas Gunn’s new instrumental album titled Thirty-One Nights, made its debut at #8 in the Top 10 New Age Charts at Billboard.
Thirty-One Nights is the 14th album by Nicholas Gunn after an interval of 5 years. On this newest release he, Dana Kemmerle and Chris Fossek communicate the splendor of the natural world and beauty of its environment. Earlier this week in my album review, I spoke of the uncompromising instrumental qualities, intensity and passion in which flutist Nicholas Gunn and team dedicated to this release.
For the acclaimed flutist Nicholas Gunn, making the Billboard Top 10 Charts is more the rule and not the exception, having spent a total of 55 consecutive weeks overall on the Billboard New Age Charts.
With over two million in album sales, Nicholas Gunn has consistently shown he is a dominate force at producing beautiful instrumental music. Congratulations go to flutist Nicholas Gunn, vocalist Dana Kemmerle and guitarist Chris Fossek.
Sample and purchase Thirty-One Nights at NicholasGunn.com.
Pamela and Randy Copus of the popular music group 2002 have an interview conversation with New Age Music World host John Olsen about 2002’s newest album titled Believe.
The newest album by 2002 titled Believe is scheduled to be released on October 15, 2012. Believe will be the 14th album by Pamela and Randy Copus since they released their first album as the duo “2002″ in 1992.
This year marks the 20th anniversary for the award-winning group 2002. During this interview taking place during September 2012, Pamela and Randy Copus each give individual responses about their newest release and what the future holds for the popular music group 2002.
John Olsen: Thank you both for giving me and your fans a moment of your time. I enjoyed getting to know you over the past few years, and more recently by our earlier interview in 2011.
Let me begin the conversation by saying your newest album Believe, due to be released on October 15th, is said to be unlike any of your previous albums. Knowing beforehand this release is more progressive from your earlier releases, what are some of the ways Believe is alike, and can you give some examples where Believe differs from your earlier releases?
Randy Copus: Believe is different from past albums in that we freely explored the use of lead vocals as a major component of the album. Over half the songs have lyrics. This is a normal evolution for us, I think, since we began our professional careers playing and singing in bands. Progressive rock influences are going to be easy to spot by listeners familiar with the genre. Having said that, there are elements and songs on this album that are quintessential 2002, our signature sound. It’s as though we took the last 20 years of our musical explorations and glued them together into one idea, yet no matter what direction the music takes, we still sound like “us.”
John: In comparison to earlier 2002 albums, was Believe a comparatively easy album for you to produce?
Pamela Copus: Actually none of them have been what I would call “easy to produce.” Some are more complicated and so have taken longer than others to complete. The fun thing about Believe is that each song seemed to really have a perfect spot as far as song order goes. It was magical!
Randy Copus: I think it was one of the harder ones to produce, mainly because of the addition of so many vocals and lyrics. But, all our albums have been more or less hard to create; we set a very high bar for ourselves.
John: Is this a one of a kind album or do you plan to produce more music arrangements that more or less contrast your earlier albums?
Pamela Copus: The “new age” genre contains dozens of sub-genres. There are so many more paths to explore. Who knows where we will go next? We don’t feel pressured to fit into a particular mold. I personally enjoy a great variety of musical styles. As long as a song is good, it doesn’t really matter to me what category it is placed in. Believe was a lot of fun to create because we got to return to the roots of the music we considered good when we were growing up. Isn’t it amazing how certain songs never seem to grow old – even after decades?
Randy Copus: I think we will do more albums that contrast with our earlier works. At this point, our body of work is large enough to be able to explore new directions without alienating existing fans. If an album is a bit too progressive for them, for example, they have lots of the older, more “classic” 2002 available. As artists we have to keep moving forward, evolving, or the music will stagnate.
John: You mentioned that your earlier musical influences are noticeable on this album. What were some of your favorite bands growing up that may have influenced this album’s sound?
Pamela Copus: Some of my favorite bands growing up were Kansas, Genesis, Boston, Heart, and ELO. I also enjoyed listening to Vangelis, Chuck Mangione, and Andreas Vollenweider. Of course I love most classical music as well and I enjoyed playing in the school symphony.
Randy Copus: In the early days as a singer, I was influenced by all the great rock and progressive rock singers- Steve Walsh, Steve Perry, Getty Lee, Jon Anderson, Lou Graham to name a few. You will definitely hear those colors in my voice. Also, we grew up with a lot of great pop music, and there are elements of those influences in Believe as well.
John: The popular bands and artists you named are nearly identical to my favorites, even today. More importantly the artists and bands you named are beloved favorites for millions of people worldwide. New Age music is like all genres by the continual changes from year to year. In your opinion, do you believe new age music will turn out to be more popular or mainstream than its present day standing?
Pamela Copus: The lines separating the musical genres seem to be getting fuzzier. I think with the demise of “brick and mortar” music stores, there is no longer a finite amount of shelf space with a finite number of genres being represented. This is both good and bad. It’s bad in that it’s harder to just pull up a category and do any casual shopping. For example, I see things all the time on the iTunes new age chart that make me scratch my head wondering how that is called “new age” by any definition. At the same time, it’s good because people that would normally not discover some fabulous bit of music now do so quite by happy accident.
Randy Copus: I don’t know about the genre per se, but I do believe “that sound” will become more mainstream, because more people nowadays are looking for popular music that touches them on a spiritual level. It’s interesting- so many of the great new pop songs we hear lately are incorporating that ethereal, “new age” flavor, along with everything else. The Green Children, my current favorite pop group, comes to mind.
John: The year 2012 is your 20th year as the group 2002. You are a popular, award-winning music group whose hit music made the Billboard New Age Charts 9 times. Looking ahead, what’s next for 2002?
Pamela Copus: I’d love to go even farther into musical exploration – maybe a Celtic harp album with 2002 icing on top – or perhaps even a 2002 chill release. I see Sarah becoming more involved too. She inherited perfect pitch from Randy. In fact, she composed the main melody for the second song on Believe using a set of toy water flutes.
Randy Copus: We are really in such a wonderful place, artistically speaking. We don’t have label executives telling us what kind of albums to make, or what degree of risk we’re allowed to take, so we’re free to engage in any musical adventure that inspires us, as it should be. This is where the best music is going to come from, because it is truly the journey we’re on.
John: Thanks again for giving everyone another opportunity to find out more about you, and your newest project. Is there anything you would like to express to the people who have supported you over the years?
Pamela Copus: We have made such amazing friends in the world. They inspire us to continue, ever onward. Releasing a new album is never the end of the road – It’s just one more milestone on the journey. I hope our friends and fans will continue to enjoy the trip as much as we do.
Randy Copus: We will always be grateful to our friends and fans for the encouragement and support they have given us over the years. It’s been an amazing ride so far, and I believe the best is yet to come.
Find more news and information at 2002Music.com and pre-order Believe. In September you can pre-order the newest release Believe and find 2002 albums at Amazon.com. Cover artwork and all interview photos courtesy 2002music.com.
New Age music group 2002 has a new 2012 release unlike any of their previous albums. The newest project by Randy and Pamela Copus nearing release is titled Believe – A Spiritual Romance. I heard the news firsthand that Believe – A Spiritual Romance is comprised of the signature sound of 2002 music we know and love, yet there are also elements made popular by many of our favorite bands like Kansas, YES, Phil Collins, and Seal.
2002 is a prominent new age band celebrating 20 years of producing hit music. Over the years 2002 have had 9 albums making the Billboard Charts, even sharing the spotlight in a Billboard Magazine Year in Review issue with other top artists like Jim Brickman, Enya, Manheim Steamroller, George Winston and Yanni.
Believe – A Spiritual Romance, with 10 songs is near finalization, so I look to tell you more about the newest album by 2002 soon. Like their Damayanti album, Pamela and Randy’s daughter Sarah is participating on Believe. This newest release by 2002 holds a lot of promise by their blend of relaxing celestial music with popular hit music by legendary bands many of us grew up with ourselves.
Believe – A Spiritual Romance has every hallmark of becoming one of the best 2002 albums to date. The Dreams of Peace song video is one of ten songs with piano, orchestra, alto flute and soft vocals by Pamela, Randy and Sarah Copus. This is their first introduction of the elegant cover artwork for Believe, and I hope to have an exclusive, pre-release album review soon. For news and info visit Pamela, Randy and Sarah at 2002Music.com. Artwork courtesy 2002music.com.
GRAMMY® nominated composer David Arkenstone is a celebrated new age artist who has produced an extensive collection of great instrumental albums over the course of his distinguished career. David Arkenstone’s popularity as a favorite artist for many persons including myself is clear when you consider he has sold well over a million albums throughout his extensive career as a popular favorite.
The admiration for David Arkenstone and his reputation as a top new age artist is apparent by other benchmarks too, having reached the Top 10 Billboard New Age charts twenty times. He is a gifted musician accustomed to playing a variety of instruments, some of which include electronic keyboards, piano, cello, flute, harp, mandolin and a number of ethnic guitars. David is also a talented percussionist, sings vocals on some of his albums, and regularly performs live music during tours as a performing new age concert artist.
David Arkenstone is a three times GRAMMY® nominated musician, having earned nominations for his three albums In the Wake of the Wind, Citizen of the World, & Atlantis. In addition he has composed numerous recordings for film and television, some of which are shown on the History Channel, Discovery Channel, NBC Sports and many other televised programs.
Echoes of Creation is a new soundtrack he composed for Jan Nickman’s nature inspired film that was aired on PBS stations nationwide. David has also composed a number of top rated computer gaming scores like World of Warcraft, Blade Runner, Lands of Lore, Earth and Beyond & Emperor.
David Arkenstone and his popular album collection are a broad array of ambient, Celtic, contemporary instrumental, world, electronic, and new age fusion. Diversity is a unique characteristic of David Arkenstone’s ingenious skills as a songwriter and his extensive music collection. He also performs live concerts with Seth Osburn and John Wakefield in his world music inspired band Mandala.
New Age Music World host John P. Olsen recently had the opportunity to provide a December 2011 interview for the internationally famous David Arkenstone. Today we are pleased to present their up-to-date interview conversation to David’s fans and to our site visitors weeks prior to the new year 2012.
David Arkenstone Interview;
John Olsen: Thank you for giving everyone a moment of your time David. Like your many fans, I too have been an admirer of your music for many years, so our interview together is especially rewarding to me personally.
I noticed at your website you appear to have a close connection with your fans by easy access and information for them at your website news page, Twitter and Facebook social networking pages.
Over the years, the internet and technology has influenced everyone to some extent, and new technology directly applies to the technique in which you produce music.
John: Would you like to begin our interview by telling us about your life as a musician in the early years, preceding the time when technology changed the way you produce music?
David Arkenstone: I had several different configurations of my rock band, Arkenstone. I played guitar and keyboards. I’ve always loved synths and used them in my music, as well as all kinds of different sounds. So I was doing that. Once synthesizers and computers started communicating, I threw myself into that world and never looked back. I was able to hear things I could only previously imagine.
John: Since computer technology or electronic music has influenced the process in which you compose, what has proven to be the most beneficial aspect of your electronic enhanced orchestrations?
David Arkenstone: That would be all the things I can hear at the same time. Like a fully orchestrated piece with percussion, strings, brass, woodwinds. Or if I’m doing a more non-orchestral piece, I can hear the guitars with the drums, keyboards, generally all the sounds I use. This is so beneficial to being able to shape the piece as I go. There is an endless amount of tweaking until I’m satisfied. This can sometimes take a long time!
John: Many of your releases have bold majestic themes and popular music influences. When composing, do you intentionally set out to merge many influences into your music compositions, and how do you achieve a proper balance of electronic and instrumental orchestrations?
David Arkenstone: I usually try to start with a concept that resonates with me, and then decide which aspects of that concept I would like to illustrate with music. After the pieces begin coming out, I figure out my ‘palette.’ From that I can find a balance of sounds and decide which elements can be computer generated and which should be live musicians. This period includes a lot of exciting exploration.
John: Along with your Echoes of Creation Soundtrack & Ambient World releases, don’t you have a varied collection of Celtic songs?
David Arkenstone: Celtic Journeys is a compilation of my Celtic inspired recordings on the Green Hill label.
John: In your diverse music collection, Visions of Christmas is another relatively new release. With the holiday season drawing nearer every day, perhaps you could tell us about the songs on Visions of Christmas, and how your holiday album was produced?
David Arkenstone: I love the holidays and have been doing holiday concerts for a long time. This album came about because I was playing a lot of arrangements in our Winter Solstice concerts that I’d never recorded.
I really wanted to do another Christmas album and my producing partner, Victoria Paige Meyerink, suggested we combine the concert tunes with some of my favorites for Visions of Christmas. We’ve also filmed several of the concerts and we’re working on a DVD of the Winter Solstice Tour.
John: Again, I am very familiar with your entire discography David. Likewise, I am confident the majority of people reading this interview are too. For those who may be less familiar with your variety of great releases, what 4 albums would you recommend to them as a starting point to begin sampling your discography?
David Arkenstone: Visionary, Atlantis, Myths and Legends & Ambient World.
John: Yes, I certainly agree your 2 disc collection of songs on Ambient World is an excellent choice. This is one of your new albums I would recommend to everyone too. Earlier, Victoria Paige Meyerink informed me that Ambient World was listed in the 25 Essential Echoes CD’s for 2011. In your diverse music collection, I find many of your albums “boldly adventurous” if I can phrase it this way. Many releases including Eternal Champion & Quest Of The Dream Warrior are best described as having epic or majestic themes. Do you begin a project with a predetermined theme or does a project’s theme define itself later on while you are composing?
David Arkenstone: I usually start with a thread of an idea, though also it can materialize after I’ve composed several pieces. That can generate ideas for me, or a more specific direction.
John: You have composed numerous music recordings for film and television like the History Channel, Discovery Channel, NBC Sports and others. The Echoes of Creation soundtrack you produced with Emmy award winning director Jan Nickman is another example of your outstanding film scores.
In addition your numerous computer gaming scores like World of Warcraft, Blade Runner, Lands of Lore, Earth and Beyond, & Emperor. What are some of the challenges and dissimilarities involved with soundtrack, film and gaming scores verses composing music for an album?
David Arkenstone: A music album is completely free. I think of the road I want to go on, what instruments I want to use, and all of the final outcome. With a project involving another person’s vision, I have to determine the palette, style, and mood that will best fit the project. Then I have to please my collaborators and make sure all the elements work together.
John: Would you tell us about your world music group Mandala?
David Arkenstone: I recently started this group with a couple of my friends, Seth Osburn & John Wakefield, to perform more world music inspired pieces that are more improvisational in nature. Some are very danceable, and some are very moody, but all of them have a spiritual aspect. Mandala is evolving and we recently filmed a concert. We will be releasing footage once it’s fully edited.
John: In addition to your numerous album releases, you have been a concert performer for many years, including the renaissance festivals earlier this year. Would you like to provide some details about the musicians who perform with you, and what one can expect when attending a David Arkenstone concert in terms of atmosphere, interaction, and songs you play?
David Arkenstone: It’s fun to step back in time. Basically, it’s me and the band without synths and sometimes little amplification. We’ve been invited to several Renn fairs and enjoy being in costume and playing some of my Celtic inspired works.
A lot of the World of Warcraft fans attend and I really love performing live to such enthusiastic crowds. It’s a relaxed atmosphere and I have the opportunity to meet with people who’ve been following my career – one person saved tickets from one of my first concerts, brought them to the fair and asked me to autograph them! People bring all sorts of memorabilia.
John: I heard the news you have plans for a new David Arkenstone album with a release date sometime in 2012. Do you have an album title for your new project, and can you tell us about the music you have in mind for your new release for 2012?
David Arkenstone: Well, I’m not ready to say too much about it yet. There are vocals, lots of drums and orchestra, as well as all the other instruments I play. I’m very excited about it. The album is collaboration with Charlee Brooks, a wonderful singer and writer, and it’s one of the most rewarding experiences of my career. We have written it almost as a soundtrack.
John: You have a large international fan base, and you have enjoyed a successful music career practically your entire life. What do you find the most rewarding experience as a professional musician?
David Arkenstone: That’s simple, the most rewarding aspect is that people enjoy my music and because of that, I get to do what I love every day. I’ve been lucky to make music that resonates with so many people, and their support and kind words make every day a musical joy.
John: Your new website looks fantastic! It’s easy to navigate too. I know you have a new album project you are working on and a busy schedule so I want to thank you again for letting me host your most current interview David. It has been a privilege to provide today’s news coverage about you!
I will publish more articles about you in time but do you have any departing words before we close for now?
David Arkenstone: Just that I appreciate your support of music and your efforts to connect musicians with the listeners. I hope everyone will enjoy my new 3-D website and follow me on Facebook and Twitter.
Visit the new davidarkenstone.com website and purchase his music at David’s online store or find at David’s profile page at domomusicgroup.com. Discover more fine artists at domomusicgroup.com homepage and read my David Arkenstone page. Interview photos are courtesy David Arkenstone.
Billboard magazine listed Trans-Siberian Orchestra as one of the most acclaimed concert touring groups of the past decade. If you have had the chance to see them perform live you will know why this is so true, just like the millions of fans worldwide who have attended one of their extraordinary theatrical shows.
It’s a well known fact that TSO’s live concert events are notorious for stunning audiences with their exceptional rock opera style interpretation of orchestral music!
Trans-Siberian Orchestra is a spectacular American music group that has performed on stage before an estimated 8 million concertgoers, and has sold around 8.5 million albums since their inception in 1993.
The theatrical group’s most current 2 disc album entitled Night Castle showcases TSO’s fundamental elements of progressive, symphonic rock music that has made them a titanic success. Knowing how extraordinary this album is, I would be willing to guess that songs from Night Castle are included on their playlist of concert songs.
Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s Winter Concert Tour for 2011 is in full force with many concerts dates scheduled between now and their final Winter Concert Tour performance in Phoenix, Arizona on December 30, 2011 at the Jobing.com Arena.
TSO’s Beethoven’s Last Night 2012 Concert Tour begins a new season for Trans-Siberian Orchestra and fans starting with their very first concert appearance on Saturday March 3, 2012 in Beaumont, Texas at the Ford Arena. The final Beethoven’s Last Night 2012 Tour season ends on Sunday May 12, 2012 in Battle Creek, Michigan at the Kellogg Arena, but there are many opportunities for you to see TSO perform live!
Please note the tour dates shown above are beginning and ending dates only, and like any concert tour, all dates and venues listed here and at their site are subject to change. The must see YouTube HD video below is a live promotional video performance for TSO’s Winter Concert Tour.
You can visit the trans-siberian.com homepage for news and gift ideas. Visit the TSO concert tour page for full concert schedule for 2011 & 2012. Photos in this article are courtesy trans-siberian.com.
Multi-platinum pianist Jim Brickman is one of today’s most beloved artists whose selection of romantic piano and Christmas music spans across a wide variety of popular music genres. With 6 of his albums acquiring Gold and Platinum status, it’s easy to see why Jim Brickman is a prominent celebrity in the popular and new age instrumental music genres. Likewise, he is renowned as the greatest pianist in the Adult Contemporary genre category, having charted more than any other male performer.
Jim Brickman is a highly recognized entertainer and recording artist who has thrilled millions of people for years with his award winning collection of popular piano music which can range from solo piano, popular, mainstream music, adult contemporary, and a wonderful selection of Christmas albums, many of which are available in CD and DVD formats.
With 6 Gold and Platinum albums, 2 GRAMMY® nominations, and 30 chart topping adult radio hits, Jim Brickman is accustomed to prestigious awards and recognition. Along with 2 SESAC Songwriter of the Year awards, a Canadian Country Music Award, and a Gospel Music Association Dove Award, he is tied for the most #1 albums in Billboard’s New Age charts. Presently listed in the Top 10 of Billboard’s New Age Charts are three of Jim’s albums; All is Calm, Romanza, & Love.
Jim Brickman is likewise cherished for his countless album collaborations with other popular celebrity artists, some of which include Lady Antebellum, Kenny Loggins, Martine McBride, Olivia Newton-John, Donny Osmond, Carly Simon and Michael W. Smith. During the course of his lengthy career Jim Brickman has become a household name, having crossed over into mainstream piano music that is adored by millions of people worldwide.
The Christmas holidays are a special time of year that symbolizes another period in time when people often associate Jim Brickman, and his special variety of piano instrumental Christmas music. Currently Jim is beginning his 2011 Holiday Concert Tour in the continental U.S. Also recognized for his humanitarian efforts, Jim is involved with many charitable foundations dedicated to improving the lives of children and their families, including Autism Speaks, UNICEF and Camp Heartland.
New Age Music World host John P. Olsen had an opportunity to interview Jim Brickman at the very start of his opening Christmas Concert Tour in 2011. Today we are pleased to present their conversation to Jim Brickman’s international fan base and to our global site visitors.
Interview with Jim Brickman;
John Olsen: Thank you so much for accepting my interview invitation Jim. I realize this is an especially busy time for you. It is truly a privilege to be the host for your most current interview. Currently you are about to begin your 2011 “A Christmas Celebration” Concert Tour, which has numerous concert venues in major cities throughout the continental U.S.
John: When traveling across the country on tour with full entourage I imagine the excitement of every performance takes a lot out of you, and the entire team. How do you and everyone on the team re-energize and prepare for the next concert?
Jim Brickman: Each city, theatre and audience is different. Knowing this helps keep the performances fresh and exciting. It really is like celebrating Christmas every day.
John: During your Christmas Concert Tour in 2011 you have special guest vocalist Anne Cochran and Ben Utecht, with violinist Tracy Silverman. I have heard these artists on your YouTube videos and must say you have a great team Jim! Would you like to tell everyone about the exceptional artists who will be performing with you during this year’s A Christmas Celebration Concert Tour?
Jim Brickman: I’ve been performing with Anne Cochran and Tracy Silverman for many, many years. Anne and I met in high school. I look forward to performing with her, not only because we are close friends, but because she has a beautiful voice and a great personality.
Tracy is a brilliant musician who adds a dimension to my concert that you don’t normally expect to hear. Ben Utecht is new to the tour, but may be a familiar name to NFL football fans. He was a member of the Super Bowl Championship Indianapolis Colts. He has a powerful voice that brings new meaning to familiar songs and old favorites. Ben has a large presence on stage, and he wears his Super Bowl ring!
John: How many seasons have you held Christmas concerts to date, and how do you determine which of the many exceptional artists to choose from will be performing with you? If it is not a secret, can you tell us some of the Christmas songs concert attendees will hear during your 2011 season?
Jim Brickman: This is the 16th year of the holiday tour. I will be playing holiday favorites and a few songs from my latest CD Romanza. Plus the hits, because everyone wants to hear the hit songs. I hope for a few hours the audience can wrap themselves up in the holiday spirit through my music.
John: Over the years you have been Grammy nominated, won countless music awards, in addition to 6 of your releases attaining Gold and Platinum status. It is obvious people adore your music Jim. Do you feel there a specific element about your music that you feel has helped you achieve worldwide popularity?
Jim Brickman: As I write music, I think about where people will be listening to it, and how it will make them feel. Because the majority of my songs have no words, people can listen, apply it into their own lives, and take away what they need to hear.
John: I am confident most people reading this interview are familiar with your music. For those people who may be less familiar with your many albums, what albums would you suggest for a starting point for them to begin sampling your music?
Jim Brickman: If You Believe is my signature song and I think it also best represents my “sound.” It symbolizes my dream of composing and performing, and the belief in myself to bring it to fruition. It’s on the CD Picture This.
John: From your great selection of Christmas music CDs and DVDs, what would you recommend they sample or purchase?
Jim Brickman: That’s like asking which is your favorite child. I have a new CD called All Is Calm that’s available at Target.
John: You have been a successful musician nearly your entire life. Knowing there are other artists reading our interview today, can you give any advice or offer a helpful strategy to those artists who are just beginning their music career?
Jim Brickman: Listen to many different artists that you enjoy and admire. Hear what it is in their music and lyrics that speak to you. Then when you sit down to write, adopt what you like from other elements and make it your own.
So many pianists tell me “Everyone says I sound like Jim Brickman. How do I start my career?” Well, there’s already a Jim Brickman, so I tell them the best way is to create a new, unique sound. Find places to be heard. And don’t be afraid of rejection. Find places to play and show off your talent. Start small and get your style and personality known so that you can grow your career.
John: In regards to your talents as a pianist, would you say you have natural born talents as a pianist, or has it merely taken practice and dedication to reach the level of expertise you have achieved?
Jim Brickman: I started playing piano when I was 4. I begged my parents to buy me a piano. So, that part was natural. I had a lot of piano teachers growing up, and they all wanted me to play in what I call “their style.”
It wasn’t until I studied at the Cleveland Institute of Music, that I found a teacher who helped me develop my own style. It evolved out of my classical training and my love of pop music. That’s what you hear today.
John: You have collaborated on numerous projects with famous artists like yourself over the years. Would you like to tell us about your experience while working with esteemed artists like yourself?
Jim Brickman: I love writing with different people because each one draws something new out of me. As I write I hear a specific sound singing the vocals. I love using new voices that may not be familiar to listeners because they come to me with an eagerness and fresh energy. Of course, many have gone on to become household names like Martina McBride and Lady Antebellum.
John: When visiting your jimbrickman.com website I read you are offering a “Jim Brickman Escape Cruise” in 2013, where you and anyone interested can sail the Eastern Caribbean together. What are some of the cruise destinations you have traveled during your earlier vacation cruises, and what are some of the onboard cruise activities?
Jim Brickman: We have sailed all over the Caribbean, and the Mexican Riviera. Two years ago we took an amazing trip to Alaska, and this year we went to Hawaii. I do two concerts onboard, usually in a cabaret style theatre that lends itself to a more casual performance.
A favorite for the fans is the songwriting workshop where we actually write a song with the help of the audience. My parents have become a popular addition to the cruise, and we have a Q&A session with them where they tend to say more than they should! There are casual get-togethers where we all just hang out.
What’s really cool is that a lot of the same people who come back year after year and have made lifelong friends that they continue to travel with.
John: I saw at your website the CDs and DVDs items in your Christmas store section are generously priced at $10 and under. Even your newest releases Romanza & All Is Calm CDs are on sale. Would I be correct in saying Christmas is a very special time for you, and could you tell us why Christmas holds so much significance to you personally?
Jim Brickman: This may sound corny but, what makes Christmas so special to me is the music. We hear the same songs year after year. They create memories that tie generations together.
The old songs are sung in their original form or updated versions, but the message is the same. And sharing that with audiences every night is a wonderful gift I can share.
John: You are also involved with many charitable foundations for children. Would you tell us about your work as a philanthropist?
Jim Brickman: I try to get involved with charities that are affected by my music. When I heard that children with Autism responded to my music, I got involved with Autism Speaks. After Beautiful World was released, we raised money for UNICEF.
People tell me how my music has helped them through chemotherapy, and really hard times in their lives. It important to me to help raise awareness any way I can. Also, a scholarship has been established at my alma mater the Cleveland institute of Music in my honor.
John: Do you have any news or information to pass along regarding any new album projects you may have or special events you will be announcing soon?
Jim Brickman: I produced a Carpenters tribute show called Yesterday Once More that is currently touring the US. I’d love to do more theatrical type shows, maybe even write for Broadway!
John: Thank You again for spending time with us by way of our interview Jim. I look forward to the day when I can follow-up by another interview together.
In closing for now, do you have anything you would like to express to the people who will be attending a concert this year, and the many fans that have supported you throughout your career?
Jim Brickman: I am most humbled by people who tell me how my music has touched them. You really can’t measure something like that that in awards and sales.
Visit the jimbrickman.com homepage and the Jim Brickman Store. Find more about the topics Jim mentioned like his Holiday Concert Tour schedule for 2011 & 2012, and listen to his radio program at brickhouseradionetwork.com. Read my pages dedicated to Jim Brickman. Photos are courtesy Kirkland Performance Center & jimbrickman.com.
Jim Brickman’s new piano albums Romanza & All Is Calm have turned out to be two very popular albums after their November 2011 release. Jim Brickman is presently dominating the Billboard charts since both Romanza & All Is Calm are in Billboard’s Top 10 New Age charts, along with a new album entitled Love.
Romanza has 15 songs of inspiration with a fine romantic atmosphere of Italy. The second new album entitled All Is Calm is a brand new holiday collection of 15 Christmas songs. When you visit the jimbrickman.com store, Romanza & All Is Calm can be purchased as individual CDs, but when placing your order for the 2 CD Combo you get 2 free downloads of his first time released songs In My Dreaming & Vino Traboccante as 2 additional bonus tracks.
There is also an interview with Jim Brickman at his website where Jim answers questions about his newest releases. The YouTube interview questions for Jim Brickman are; what was your inspiration for Romanza? What emotions do you hope to convey to your fans with these releases? What makes All Is Calm different from your other Christmas albums?
Jim Brickman has consented to my interview request so I am pleased to announce a New Age Music World interview publication with Jim Brickman and I will be available soon. With the holiday season nearing many of you may like to know more about his Christmas concerts, so I will include several questions about his always popular holiday concert events.
Visit jimbrickman.com homepage and purchase the Romanza & All Is Calm CD Combo at his music store. Jim Brickman’s “A Christmas Celebration” Holiday Concert Tour is available so check his Holiday Concert Tour page for venues in your area. Photo is courtesy jimbrickman.com.
New Age contemporary pianist Jim Brickman is leading the Top 10 New Age Charts at Billboard for the week ending October 22, 2011. The fact Jim Brickman is at the top of the charts really shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone even halfway familiar with his piano music, knowing six of his albums have achieved Gold and Platinum status.
Love by Jim Brickman is the #1 Top 10 album in the Billboard New Age Chart after spending 14 weeks on the chart so far. Home by Jim Brickman is currently the #4 album in the Top 10 New Age Chart at Billboard after the 18 weeks on the charts. For a little history about Jim, it was in 1994 when he signed onto Will Ackerman’s Windham Hill Records for his first release entitled No Words. The deeply emotive song Rocket to the Moon was his first introduction to the Billboard charts.
Jim Brickman’s Faith album is another fine release that was nominated for a Grammy Award during 2010 in the Best New Age Album category. Everyone will have to wait and see what is next in store for this award winning pianist whose album collection ranges from solo piano, popular music, adult contemporary, along with a wonderful selection of Christmas albums.
Speaking of the holidays, Jim Brickman’s “A Christmas Celebration” Holiday Concert Tour for 2011 has been published at his website. Recognized for his various album collaborations with other popular musicians like Lady Antebellum, Kenny Loggins, Martine McBride, Olivia Newton-John, Donny Osmond, Carly Simon and Michael W. Smith, Jim Brickman continues to raise the bar in terms of popular music that can be enjoyed by a wide variety of people.
Candice Night, lead vocalist of the award winning group Blackmore’s Night, and her new solo album Reflections is drawing a lot of interest upon its release this week. The attention given to her new Reflections album is only logical since Candice Night deserves a considerable amount of admiration even before her solo stride into new musical horizons.
Reflections is a contemporary release that presents Candice in a modern day exodus from the prosperous Blackmore’s Night renaissance group she and husband Ritchie are most recognized for. Regardless, you are sure to love the pleasing contemporary tone and mood on every arrangement.
Renown for her silky vocals and striking on-stage presence, Candice Night is repeatedly compared to other popular female singers like Karen Carpenter and Stevie Nicks by those who know her best, but I can easily name one more popular artist to the list.
The music celebrity I am thinking of is Candice Night herself knowing she is an amazing singing songwriter who really needs no comparison, having already realized a highly successful identity of her own.
In another noteworthy development, Candice has a starring role as an actress in the film House of Eternity, which has a end of 2011 release date.
Candice Night’s worldwide presence as the lead singer and songwriter for Blackmore’s Night just happens to be the perfect introduction for her first solo release. In turn I am sure Reflections will advance her career to even higher acclaim by the 10 instrumental and vocal songs of crossover music in modern variations of popular, country, rock and contemporary themes you are sure to love.
The guitar backed popular tune Gone, Gone, Gone has a modern country design while Wind is Calling (Hush The Wind) is a breezy song with warm intimate vocals that are pleasing to the heart and mind. Another adorable melody is Call It Love.
The beautiful crossover song Call It Love is deeply moving, and a fine complement to her impressive capabilities as a gifted singing songwriter who is acclimated to an expanded variety of popular music arrangements. Even though gold records, prestigious music awards, television appearances and sold out Blackmore’s Night concert tours are a good way to measure the magnitude of her success to date, steadfast confirmation of her achievements can be discovered simply by listening to her sing.
This is true either with Blackmore’s Night or on her solo album Reflections, that is about as good as it gets in terms of a vocal/instrumental album.
In fact, Candice Night’s Reflections is the best contemporary vocal album I have heard this year, so it’s not hard to imagine Reflections achieving one or more category awards for “Best Vocal/Instrumental Album of the Year.” And people who know me best know I don’t say this often. As a songwriter her lyrical aptitude and point of view finds its inspirations go hand in hand with nature, and even more so on Reflections.
Candice Night reached an inspiring turning point in her life when daughter Autumn Esmerelda Blackmore was born. While her presence as lead female vocalist performing world tours with husband Ritchie Blackmore and the entire renaissance troupe are indeed admirable, this momentary departure by her solo stride and change into new music horizons gives listeners a clear panoramic view of an immensely popular artist, and her ever expanding array of talents.
Visit candicenight.com and read her history page. Purchase mp3 downloads and pre-order CDs now. Her Reflections CD is available October 11th at Amazon.com. Visit blackmoresnight.com for news and info and my pages for Blackmore’s Night. Photo and cover art are courtesy candicenight.com.
Award winning Candice Night of Blackmore’s Night has released her new solo album titled Reflections. Her presence as lead vocalist, songwriter, and wind instrumentalist who tours worldwide with husband Ritchie Blackmore, former guitarist for Deep Purple and founder of the band Rainbow, has caught the imagination of music lovers internationally.
Reflections is a contemporary new solo release with 10 instrumental songs and prominent vocals of crossover music in modern variations of popular, country, rock, contemporary themes. Often likened to other iconic female vocalists, Candice Night retains an inherently unique personality as a vocalist. The recipient of numerous gold records and prestigious awards, her lyrical propensity regularly finds inspiration with nature, and her point of view is even more apparent on Reflections.
Candice Night’s worldwide presence as the lead singer for Blackmore’s Night is the preceding creative outlet for her first solo release. This momentary departure from the renaissance themed Blackmore’s Night reveals another aspect of Candice Night, and her talent for producing popular crossover music in a contemporary theme you are sure to love.
The popular crossover music in a pleasing modern day tone is found on every arrangement. Some of the most popular songs are Gone Gone Gone, Call It Love and Hush The Wind. The third song on her release titled Black Roses is shown below in an official YouTube video.
Visit candicenight.com. You can purchase individual mp3 downloads and pre-order CDs now. Her Reflections CD is available October 11th at Amazon.com. Visit blackmoresnight.com for news and info and my pages for Blackmore’s Night. Photo is courtesy candicenight.com.
Grammy nominated composer David Arkenstone has teamed up with Emmy Award winning director Jan Nickman on a new project. Together they have created an amazing nature film in unison with David’s magnificent instrumental soundtrack CD. When the film and cinematic music score are experienced as a single collective, it’s easy to see their project together is more than admirable, it is an absolute masterpiece!
The Echoes of Creation soundtrack by David Arkenstone is an excellent new release from the award winning, three times Grammy nominated composer who has produced a lengthy list of great instrumental albums over the course of his long career which spans decades. His popularity as a favorite artist of many persons including myself is apparent when you consider he has sold over one million albums throughout his career. In addition, recognition has arrived in other forms since he has been listed in the top 10 Billboard New Age charts twenty times.
David Arkenstone and his popular music repertoire can range anywhere from Ambient, Celtic, Contemporary, World, and New Age Fusion, is a unique characteristic of his vast discography which practically guarantees there is a favorite album for just about everyone. As an accomplished musician he is accustom to playing a wide variety of instruments, some of which include electronic keyboards, piano, cello, flute, harp, mandolin and a number of guitars. David is also a percussionist, sings vocals on some of his albums, and even tours as a concert performer.
The Echoes of Creation film highlights a variety of inspiring landscape footage of the Pacific Northwest, California and Alaska which was filmed from an eagle’s eye point of view. Some of the photographic footage captures scenes of three thousand years old sequoias, to an aurora borealis, and many more natural landscapes and scenic settings. With the holiday season drawing nearer, what an excellent Christmas gift the CD/DVD would be!
The soundtrack CD matched with the colorful nature film was photographed in high definition and aired nationwide on Public Broadcasting Stations (PBS) and contains poetic narration by Karen Hutton. There are a variety of formats, so if you prefer the CD soundtrack or film on DVD, there are several purchase options.
David Arkenstone’s recent CDs entitled Celtic Journeys & Ambient World are both great albums too. They go a long way in pointing out the remarkable diversity of his song writing aptitude by using album title comparison alone. When you consider David Arkenstone’s impressive capabilities as a multi-instrumentalist and experience as a popular artist, it’s clear David was the perfect choice for this nature inspired film. View the Echoes of Creation official trailer on my page for David Arkenstone.
Visit the davidarkenstone.com homepage to sample or purchase the CD soundtrack. Visit echoesofcreationmovie.com to order Echoes of Creation on CD or DVD formats. Photos are courtesy davidarkenstone.com.