The 55th GRAMMY® Award Nominations for the entire 81 music categories, including the New Age Music genre category, were announced hours ago during a television broadcast presentation and live entertainment event on December 5, 2012 in Nashville, Tennessee.
The opening presentation by The Recording Academy®, presented live on the CBS Television Network, began the official countdown to the 55th GRAMMY® Awards Ceremony for 2013. The program for the evening show in Nashville publicized as “The GRAMMY Nomination Concert Live!! – Countdown To Music’s Biggest Night included past winners and nominees who gave a series of dazzling entertainment performances.
The 55th GRAMMY® Awards Ceremony specified at Grammy.com lists the date of February 10, 2013, when they will reveal the award-winning artists in 81 Best Album Award categories. During the upcoming awards presentation on February 10, 2013, the CBS Television Network will once more broadcast the official ceremony live at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California at 8:00 p.m. – 11:30 p.m. ET/PT.
I have interviewed or written album reviews for a number of GRAMMY® Award/Nominated artists over the years so visitors new to this music blogspot can read information about artists in this year and past years award competition in the New Age, Instrumental, Americana, Soundtrack, and World music genre categories.
The 6 Nominees in the new age music category (#30) are shown alphabetically. I have sampled all 6 albums and can say they are all great releases worthy of the world’s most prestigious award. You may sample or purchase each Artist’s Nominated album by direct links to each album at Amazon.com. Read more music news at Grammy.com and the complete category list of 81 Nominees at Grammy.com. Photos are courtesy each artist & Big Stock Photo – HelleM.
The 55th GRAMMY® Nominees – New Age Album Category are:
1. Echoes Of Love by Omar Akram. Sample or purchase Echoes Of Love at Amazon.com.
2. Live Ananda by Krishna Das. Sample or purchase Live Ananda at Amazon.com.
3. Bindu by Michael Brant DeMaria. Sample or purchase Bindu at Amazon.com.
4. Deep Alpha by Steven Halpern. Sample or purchase Deep Alpha at Amazon.com.
5. Light Body by Peter Kater. Sample or purchase Light Body at Amazon.com.
6. Troubadours On The Rhine by Loreena McKennitt. Troubadours On The Rhine at Amazon.com.
It stands to reason when searching for the best new age music ever on the internet, only the very finest music available is what you are looking for. Thanks to search engines, online music stores, and social media sites, finding the best albums in all popular music genres has become much easier. Even music blogs like this site play an essential role by publishing their yearly award recommendations for best new albums of the year.
Hello everyone, my name is John P. Olsen. In my role as interview host and review publicist at New Age Music World, I have sampled many of the very best new age songs and albums artists worldwide produced in 2012. Like previous years, I have had the opportunity to write review publications for a respectable number of new age, instrumental, and world albums released in 2012, of the nearly 200 new albums in all categories sent to me for review consideration this year.
While the new age music genre in general covers an extensive range in compositional style with varying elements from one album to the next, there are a number of factors that help me determine which artists I believe have produced a quality album nearly everyone will enjoy listening to in the fascinating new age music category.
One characteristic everyone can count on like all other music category are the select number of top shelf music recordings artists created that seem to rise above and stand out from the rest. With so many new releases in 2012 to choose from why wait any longer? Today I am pleased to present my yearly awards recommendation for the 10 best new age albums I have sampled or reviewed in 2012.
My selection of the 10 Best New Age Albums is listed in alphabetical order using the artist’s name. If you would like to find new music from many of today’s top new age artists, this publication includes direct links so you may visit each artist to sample or purchase music direct from the artist or select from their online stores.
Best New Age Music Albums in 2012:
1. Intuition by Dan Kennedy.
The contemporary piano instrumental album Intuition, by Dan Kennedy is a stylish collection of 10 songs total, with several new age solo piano pieces. The extensive list of professionals providing instrumental include David cullen, Jeff haynes, Jill Haley, Steve Holley, Mehuman Jonson, and Premik Russell Tubbs. Together the artists have performed with Whitney Houston, Paul McCartney, Pat Metheny, Santana and Cassandra Wilson.
Dan Kennedy, who began his career playing improvisational piano music in coffee shops, delivers a wonderfully diverse atmosphere on his newest release Intuition. Produced by GRAMMY® Award-winning Corin Nelsen, Dan Kennedy’s sensational Intuition conveys his forte with creating an upbeat, rhythmic brand of contemporary music in classic fashion. Find the artist at DanKennedy.us and sample or purchase Intuition.
2. Tomorrow Will Tell The Story by Echo Us.
Tomorrow Will Tell The Story is a progressive concept album featuring 12 songs illustrated by an experimental range of musical textures, brought to life by Ethan Matthews, Echo Us guitarist and founder of the progressive rock band Greyhaven. The group’s primary artists are GRAMMY® Nominated singer and songwriter Henta, and harpist Raelyn Olson.
The most interesting feature with Tomorrow Will Tell The Story is the futuristic blend of electronic landscapes set to vocal overlays in a neo-classical, ambient fusion. The deep enigmatic atmosphere, unlike anything you have heard before will leave you breathless! Tomorrow Will Tell The Story is the second release in a multi-album concept project, and follow-up to earlier releases The Tide Decides & Echo Us. Find more about the artist at EchoUs.net and to sample or purchase Tomorrow Will Tell The Story. Look for another release by this unique group named Echo Us.
3. Glimmerings by Elika Mahony.
International recording artist Elika Mahony has given the world one beautiful piano and instrumental album with her 12 original songs on Glimmerings, whose tonal depth and beauty go far beyond what I first anticipated. Currently over thirty online radio stations worldwide, like UK based One World Radio and Celtic Radio are apparently reaching the same conclusion by their constant online radio airtime.
The 12 songs on Glimmerings are mainly solo piano pieces. Beautiful as the solo piano songs are themselves, the piano and instrumental songs Realization & Final Journey are equally beautiful and expertly conveyed by international, award-winning cellist, Bo Peng. Elika Mahony, who was born in the United States and raised in Kenya, now lives in China where she is truly making a grand impression on persons from every corner of the globe. Find more about the artist at ElikaMahony.com and to sample or purchase Glimmerings.
4. Symphonic Arts by Gleisberg.
Symphonic Arts by Gleisberg is a 2012 release of 10 orchestrations that are uniquely bold and dynamic while embracing a classical atmosphere on this new age instrumental album. Rudiger Gleisberg is a music teacher from Germany, renowned for creating works of music far from conventional for over 25 years. Clearly the year 2012 is no exception.
Symphonic orchestrations are the best way to describe the graceful songs which were recorded with members of the Odessa Philharmonic Orchestra of Odessa, Ukraine. The cinematic depth and beauty of rich orchestrations are what make this release special. Rudiger Gleisberg’s extraordinary talents as a composer and instrumentalist are vividly apparent in Symphonic Arts. You may find more about the artist at R-Gleisberg.de or visit BSCmusic.com to sample or purchase Symphonic Arts by Gleisberg.
5. Beyond the Turning by Heidi Breyer.
Beyond the Turning features 14 eloquent piano instrumental songs by artist Heidi Breyer. This is her third album, and follow-up to Another Place and Time, an album produced by founder of Windham Hill Records, Will Ackerman. Another Place and Time earned Heidi 2 ZMR Awards in 2010 for Best New Artist & Best Instrumental Piano Album.
Beyond the Turning, produced by GRAMMY® Winning producer and engineer Corin Nelsen, is another magnificent testimonial to the talents of composing pianist Heidi Breyer. An elemental variation in moods and influences is what makes Beyond the Turning shine from the rest. Artists include Eugene Friesen, Charlie Bisharat, Samite, Michael Manring, Steve Holley, Jeff Haynes, Jill Haley and David Cullen. You may find more about the artist at HeidiBreyer.com and to sample or purchase Beyond the Turning.
6. These Are the Moments by Michael Dulin.
New Age recording artist Michael Dulin has delivered his very best collection of 16 songs from six of his most popular piano albums over the years with These Are the Moments. The 16 songs at over an hour in duration are mainly solo piano pieces, with several songs having instrumental accompaniment and song finale by vocalist Jeania Major.
For the modern day composer and concert pianist Michael Dulin, who happens to be a classically trained pianist and Juilliard School graduate, composing emotionally compelling music is purely a natural process. Included are in this wonderful album are two of my favorite songs, Moonlight Sonata & Winter Dreams, featuring Jeania Major, who was a finalist in a Cirque du Soleil national talent search. Listen to Michael Dulin’s best of the best album at MichaelDulin.com and to sample or purchase These Are the Moments.
7. Between The Shores of Our Souls by Mirabai Ceiba.
Passionate beauty in the form of heartfelt vocals intertwined with a warm instrumental setting are the divine elements for Between The Shores of Our Souls by Mirabai Ceiba. Peaceful harmony and poetic verses are gently brought to life on the 10 songs that are magnificently serene and light to the touch, yet show inner depth and romantic intensity.
Mirabai Ceiba is comprised of guitarist and vocalist Markus Sieber, and harpist, keboardist and vocalist Angelika Baumbach. Top ranked instrumental artist join Markus and Angelika on Between The Shores of Our Souls, like Norwegian trumpeter Nils Petter Molvaer, cellist Noah Hoffeld and Yoed Nir, Megan Gould on violin and viola. Jamshied Sharifi performs keyboards, bass, and strings, and Benjamin Wittman on percussion. Find more about the artist at MirabaiCeiba.com and to sample or purchase Between The Shores of Our Souls.
8. Lovers by Paul Avgerinos.
The new electronic instrumental album Lovers is a serene collection of 11 songs by one of today’s best producers of ambient music, Paul Avgerinos. Recognized as a pillar in the new age music industry today as he was yesteryear, GRAMMY® Nominated composer Paul Avgerinos is a constant, award-winning frontrunner in the ambient music scene.
Paul Avgerinos is owner of Round Sky Music record label, Studio Unicorn recording producer, and an artist with a long history of winning best album and song awards over the course of his career. In addition Paul has performed with major symphony orchestras and toured with legendary artists Charles Aznavour, Liza Minelli, Buddy Rich, and composed over one hundred music scores for major television networks HBO, PBS, and Lifetime. Find more about the artist at RoundSkyMusic.com and to sample or purchase Lovers.
9. Sounds from the Circle 4 by Suzanne Doucet.
Sounds from the Circle 4 is the fourth MP3 compilation by members of Suzanne Doucet’s New Age Music Circle online community forum. Produced by Suzanne Doucet, Sounds from the Circle 4 is one of the best song collections of new age and sub-genres in 2012. Like all Circle Albums the fourth release is a quality driven song compilation sampler.
The diverse music styles heard on all Sounds from the Circle albums include acoustic, ambient, chill out, classical, contemporary instrumental, electronic, groove, meditation, neo-classical, piano, progressive, world, and vocal. International artists from Argentina, Australia, Canada, Denmark, England, Germany, Norway, Spain, the United States, and other countries make this release special. Join or visit Music Circle members at NewAgeMusik.Ning.com. Sample or purchase Sounds from the Circle IV at iTunes.
10. Mountains Take Wing by Timothy Wenzel.
Instrumental new age recording artist Timothy Wenzel has a decisively elegant music recording for 2012. I was amazed to learn the 12 electronic, acoustic songs on Mountains Take Wing is his first release. For Timothy Wenzel, who lives near the mountains of West Virginia, composing majestic songs inspired by nature is a natural process.
Mountains Take Wing reaches a full palette in rhythm and harmony like heard in the title song Mountains Take Wing & Christopher’s Dreams. Timothy Wenzel has already been a finalist in prestigious music awards including Hollywood Music in Media Awards, UK Songwriting Contest, USA Songwriting Contest, and West Coast Songwriters International Competition. Find more about the artist at TimothyWenzel.com and to sample or purchase Mountains Take Wing, and another 2012 album, A Coalescence of Dreams.
This concludes my Best New Age Albums in 2012 recommendations. Look for more outstanding new releases this year when I present the Best Instrumental Albums – 2012 on New Year’s Day 2013.
Cover art courtesy of each artist. Big Stock Photo by Paul_Lewis.
When selecting music for yourself or for another as a gift, it’s obvious from an auditory point of view the album cover artwork has absolutely no bearing whatsoever on the quality of music you are about to purchase. For many consumers however the visual qualities of album cover artwork created by a designer or photographer can make a difference. In some cases the visual features of an album cover can influence a consumer, and may even prevent a shopper from making a purchase.
Cover artwork for any music genre is in effect, an artistic statement to the contents inside like an advertisement. The Rolling Stones Magazine published a reader’s poll of the best album covers of all time last year. Listed in order, The Beatles Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon & Nirvana’s Nevermind album, were the top 3 best album cover art picks.
If you visit Rolling Stones Magazine, you will most likely recognize the album artwork in their publication. The Rolling Stone Magazine’s list, chosen by readers was often selected based on their notoriety or artwork created for superstar artists or famous celebrities.
The Rolling Stones (band) Sticky Fingers album with a working zipper and a painting by Andy Warhol are two more famous album covers readers selected the best album covers in Rolling Stone’s Top 100 list. There is even a GRAMMY® Award for Best Recording Package, which began in 1959 with the first award given to Frank Sinatra for the LP vinyl record cover Frank Sinatra Sings for Only the Lonely.
When selecting the Best Album Cover Artwork below, I decided to go a step further by choosing 16 visually and audibly appealing album covers in the Instrumental, New Age, Progressive Rock, and World music genres. While each organization makes their selections for the best album cover art based on different rules or guidelines, in terms of aesthetic value, the cover art collection I selected gives you get the best of both worlds, so sit back, close your eyes, and enjoy the music!
Read the RollingStone.com publication Reader’s Poll: The Best Album Covers of all time, along with the Wikipedia page for Best Recording Package. The cover artwork shown is courtesy of each artist. Big Stock Photo – Dogi78.
16 Best Album Cover Artwork:
Best Cover Art Award – Albums & Artists:
1. Believe album by 2002 – 2002Music.com
2. Island Paradise album by Hennie Bekker – HennieBekker.com
3. El Dorado album by Luna Blanca – LunaBlancaMusic.com
4. Elysium album by Jo Blankenburg – JoBlankenburg.com
5. Floating on a Melody album by Christopher Boscole – ChristopherBoscole.com
6. Great and Terrible Potions album by Ben Craven – BenCraven.com
7. The Memory of Trees album by Enya – Enya.com
8. Altitudes album by Fredziak – Arts21.net
9. Forest Piano album by Dan Gibson – Solitudes.com
10. Guitarrista album by Ciro Hurtado – CiroHurtado.com
11. Sacred Journey Vol. 4 album by Kitaro – Kitaro.com
12. Logical Drift album by Logical Drift – LogicalDrift.com
13. The Fusion Syndicate album by Billy Sherwood – BillySherwoodhq.com
14. Ambient Monkeys album by Tangerine Dream – TangerineDream-Music.com
15. Soul Food album by Raven Wolf – PugDogRecords.com
16. Relayer album by Yes – YesWorld.com
Performed Live Concert Review – The 15th Anniversary Concert: The Artists of Eversound Live 2012.
With the end of 2012 nearing, it will soon be my privilege to write several music award publications about the best new albums sent to me for review this year. With the ongoing count of nearly 200 CD album mailings sent to me for possible review this year alone and overwhelming number of superb albums to choose from making a decision is not going to be an easy task for one person to make.
The Artists of Eversound – LIVE!! 15th Anniversary Concert by music category alone is one of the most exclusive album selections from the rest by the total count of outstanding artists on one live concert album. The Artists of Eversound is a live compilation album featuring Eversound Label artists performing 12 songs during a live evening concert event in Santa Barbara, California during 2012. It’s a special song sampler of the very best the Eversound team has produced to date!
Every artist has their own individual style naturally, but if I were to make a statement in general regarding the entire artist directory it would include the quality of their instrumental skills and artisanship as a whole. Rarely do you find the universal characteristics of consistently beautiful melodies, upbeat rhythms and all-inclusive selection of wonderful vocalists like heard on the 15th Anniversary Concert album. With all things considered, presenting this quality group was an easy choice to make after all. With Christmas and the holiday gift giving season right around the corner, may I recommend the convenient and inexpensive gift of music to friends and family.
Visit EverSound.com to sample and purchase albums, and read detailed biographies at the Eversound Artists section. Shown below is the EverSound Ensemble Concert Trailer video. Cover artwork is courtesy eversound.com.
The 15th Anniversary Concert: The Artists of Eversound:
The 12 songs and artists are Joy to Joy – Stuart Hoffman, Courage to Change – Cara Tower, Our Love is Forever – Curtis Macdonald, Rumba Chulita – Manuel Iman, Serena Paz – Eduardo del Signore featuring Daya, Turning – Suzanne Ciani, Om Shanti – Diane Arkenstone, Heal Love, Be Love – Amanda Blue, When You Walk Into the Room – Steve McPeters, Santa Barbara – Manuel Iman, You Get More Beautiful – Stuart Hoffman featuring Daya, Always Remembering You – John Adorney featuring Daya. In addition to the artists, special guests are Fuzzbee Morse, Richard Hardy, and a 10 piece ensemble performed supporting instrumentals during the concert event in Santa Barbra, California.
New Album Review – Boundaries of Imagination by Bryan El.
The year 2012 wouldn’t have been the same without another new album, EP or new songs by the sensational electronic music composer Bryan El.
For the artist from Belgium who specializes in electronic music it has now become clear after his third release there is a conscious effort made on his part to focus on quality verses quantity, with his classical symphonic music.
Two years in the making, this is proven to be the case behind his quality driven 13 new songs on his album in 2012 titled Boundaries of Imagination.
Bryan El’s earlier albums Out of this World from 2008, and Spiritual Evolution from 2010, are some of the best electronic albums in the classical symphonic, music categories. With the introduction of high-tech electronic equipment and newest synthesizers arrives a new-found sense of empowerment, especially when placed in the hands of a great composing artist like Bryan El whose electronic music is brilliantly delivered, time and again with jaw dropping effect.
Boundaries of Imagination is comparable to Out of this World & Spiritual Evolution by the unique Bryan El signature sound recognizable from the beginning song, but there are several distinctions with the 13 new electronic songs from his first two releases.
Boundaries of Imagination is perhaps lighter or more refined than the first two, but a dazzling album focused on intricate detailing and deep melodic phrasing fans are sure to enjoy. Another point of interest I thought significance is the song Angels Cry which features the elegant vocalist Amethyste, whose singing clearly delivers the lyrical verses written by Michael Leonard and Bryan El in wonderful fashion.
It may be unclear if Bryan El is shifting more toward the territory of electronic pop or not, but no matter which direction he travels going forward, it’s like the title of his dazzling new hit album implies, it will arrive at the outer boundaries of imagination.
Pre-release Easy Listening Album Review for – Standing Ovation: The Greatest Songs From The Stage by Susan Boyle.
It can be said the life story of Susan Boyle is an inspiration to those who know her best, but by all accounts, Susan Boyle is an inspiration to untold millions of people worldwide. It’s as if her sudden rise to stardom after appearing on the television reality show Britain’s Got Talent was meant to be, if not a dream come true.
Now with the prominence of a top ranked seasoned professional, best-selling albums, and top of the chart success covering five continents in over twenty countries, once again she is destined to sing her way into the hearts of millions. Some may find it ironic knowing it all began with the song I Dreamed a Dream.
Susan Boyle’s three earlier albums I Dreamed A Dream, The Gift & Someone To Watch Over Me are all popular, easy listening vocal albums loved by an constantly increasing fan base that spans the globe.
Standing Ovation: The Greatest Songs From The Stage is the newest album by Susan Boyle, due to be released on November 13, 2012. Her newest release is a compilation of classic songs, and as the album subtitle suggests, are 11 favorite songs performed in the theater and some of the greatest movies ever produced.
One day prior to the release of her new album on November 13, 2012 Susan Boyle appeared on NBC’s Today Show Concert Series, and performed the Abba cover song The Winner Takes It All. If you listened to her sing live for the first time it was a beautiful introduction.
For the millions of people who know her story and have listened to the soprano sing, simply discovering the talents of Susan Boyle has been the shared moment of victory uniting us all.
The 11 songs on Standing Ovation are Somewhere Over The Rainbow, The Winner Takes It All, Send In The Clowns, The Music Of The Night featuring Michael Crawford, Bring Him Home, Memory, As Long As He Needs Me, All I Ask Of You featuring Donny Osmond, Out Here On My Own, You’ll Never Walk Alone, This Is The Moment featuring Donny Osmond.
Sample all 11 songs from Standing Ovation on the music video below. It is hard to believe but it was reported one earlier YouTube video reached viewership of almost 2.5 million hits within the first seventy two hours, which is a testament to her popularity. Read Susan Boyle’s inspiring story and sample or purchase at SusanBoyleMusic.com or find the audio CD and mp3 downloads for Standing Ovation at Amazon.com on November 13, 2012.
New Music from Sounds True – Introducing a New Collection of Yoga and Meditation Albums by a Health and Wellness Leader.
The Sounds True Music Label is one of the leading record labels featuring a large selection of top quality artists in a variety of music genres and sub-genres. Founded in 1985 by Tami Simon, her leadership has since transformed Sounds True into more than a successful record label.
Sounds True today is an independent multimedia publishing company with hundreds of wellness and personal development products by leading authors and teachers who are specialist in the health and wellness industry.
Health and wellness products from Sounds True include over 500 spoken word audio titles, learning courses, books, interactive learning kits, instructional DVDs, and of course their best new music in a variety of styles.
The new albums on the Sounds True Label I would like to tell you about today are each unique in their category, and each album is available in audio CD or mp3 digital download formats. A sampling of Sounds True music categories include holiday music, inspirational, yoga, massage, meditation, motivational, new age, wellness, and world music. The four new albums below are by quality artists who specialize in their individual style of music.
1. Yoga Is Union by Tom Colletti is music made for yoga and relaxation. Featuring 12 songs, Yoga Is Union is making a big hit with New York City yoga specialists, where top yoga practitioners selected Yoga Is Union the best yoga album yet. Tom Colletti created an upbeat contemporary album with relaxing qualities made for modern day fitness.
2. Crystal Bowl Sound Healing by Tryshe Dhevney is a meditative album in the wellness department. Featuring 5 peaceful arrangements, Crystal Bowl Sound Healing employs the reverberation sounds of crystal bowls to relax and calm the listener. Tryshe Dhevney is a leading authority and instructor specializing in vocal sound healing and chakra toning.
3. Medicine Melodies by Silvia Nakkach is a health and wellness album from a leading practitioner and consultant recognized worldwide. Presenting 19 songs on Medicine Melodies, Silvia Nakkach introduces a relaxing blend of vocal harmonies on her new album in collaboration with another fine composer and instrumentalist Christopher Eickmann.
4. Gypsy Grooves by Priyo is an upbeat song collection of Spanish melodies by acoustic guitar design. With 15 groove and world music percussion rhythms in the Flamenco guitar tradition, I found Gypsy Grooves a dynamic fusion of acoustic instrumentals and vocals. Acoustic refrains accentuate a wonderful vibrancy while backing poetic verses.
When it comes to some of the best music collections made for relaxation, yoga, or for health and well-being, the large selection of artists from the Sounds True Label may be precisely what you are looking for. Also available is Sounds True Direct Access online membership program offering discounts, free programs and exclusive offers. Included is the Sounds True Radio, weekly radio podcast, free downloads and gifts, plus a great selection of merchandise from their catalog.
Visit SoundsTrue.com to find out more and sample or purchase any of the above albums at the Sounds True music shop. Company banner and album cover artwork is courtesy soundstrue.com.
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.
Best of Progressive Rock Review – The Fusion Syndicate: Legendary Progressive Rock Superstars & Legendary Jazz Fusion Artists Unite on the New 2012 Progressive/Fusion Song Collection produced by Billy Sherwood.
Many of the best known names in progressive rock have come together on a collection of songs for a new album produced by famed guitarist, and former YES band member Billy Sherwood.
The Fusion Syndicate is an innovative 2012 release containing some of the best song collections of rock jazz fusion with a superstar cast and crew of music legends. This time around intricate rhythms and soulful improvisation dazzle, in a best new album in 2012 – The Fusion Syndicate.
Featuring top artists in the progressive rock, and jazz fusion scene The Fusion Syndicate boasts performances by best artists in their class like Brand X, Dream Theater, Hawkwind, King Crimson, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Porcupine Tree, Soft Machine, Spyrogyra, Tool, Yellowjackets, YES, and others.
Earlier this year Billy Sherwood produced The Prog Collective & Songs Of The Century which combined, features a superstar cast and crew of none other than John Wetton (Asia), Tony Levin (King Crimson), Jerry Goodman (Mahavishnu Orchestra), Richard Page (Mr. Mister), Geoff Downes (Yes/Asia), Alan Parsons (Alan Parsons Project), Chris Squire (Yes), Rick Wakeman (Yes), Larry Fast (Peter Gabriel).
The stellar lineup of famed performing progressive rock artists also include John Wesley (Porcupine Tree), Mickey Thomas (Starship), Steve Morse (Deep Purple) & Tony Kaye (Yes), Richard Page (Mr. Mister) & Peter Banks (Yes), Colin Moulding (XTC) & Geoff Downes (Yes/Asia), Annie Haslam (Renaissance) & David Sancious (Bruce Springsteen s E Street Band), Gary Green (Gentle Giant) & Jordan Rudess (Dream Theater), Roye Albrighton (Nektar) & Steve Porcaro (Toto), Joe Lynn Turner (Rainbow), Rod Argent (The Zombies), Robby Krieger (The Doors), and Dave Kerzner.
Billy Sherwood has also released his sixth solo album Art Of Survival in 2012. This year yielded a bounty of the best progressive rock albums to choose from, but in terms of a one of a kind collection of songs like this, where else can you find a lineup of legendary progressive rockers like this on a single album. Put another way, The Fusion Syndicate is one of the best new song collections featuring an extensive lineup of legendary progressive rock artists.
To sample or purchase visit Cleopatra Records store for The Fusion Syndicate. Cover artwork courtesy cleorecs.com.
The Fusion Syndicate – Best of Progressive Rock Artists and Songs:
Artists performing on The Fusion Syndicate include: Rick Wakeman (Yes), Jerry Goodman (Mahavishnu Orchestra), Nik Turner (Hawkwind), Jimmy Haslip (Yellowjackets/Alan Holdsworth), Steve Stevens, Jordan Rudess (Dream Theater/Liquid Tension Experiment), Mel Collins (King Crimson), Colin Edwin (Porcupine Tree), Billy Cobham (Mahavishnu Orchestra), Jay Beckenstein (Spyrogyra), Billy Sheehan (Steve Vai), Gavin Harrison (Porcupine Tree), David Sancious (The E Street Band), Larry Coryell, Derek Sherinian (Dream Theater/Black Country Communion), Eric Marienthal (Chick Corea Elektric Band), Chester Thompson (Genesis/Frank Zappa), Steve Morse (Dixie Dreggs/Deep Purple), Jim Beard (Mahavishnu Orchestra), Randy Brecker (Blood, Sweat & Tears/Brecker Brothers), Percy Jones (Soft Machine/Brand X), John Etheridge (Soft Machine), Tony Kaye (Yes), Chad Wackerman (Frank Zappa), Steve Hillage (Gong), Scott Kinsey (Tribal Tech), Theo Travis (Steven Wilson Band), Justin Chancellor (Tool), Asaf Sirkis, (The Orient House Ensemble).
The Fusion Syndicate songs: 1. Random Acts Of Science 2. Stone Cold Infusion 3. Molecular Breakdown 4. Particle Accelerations 5. At The Edge Of The Middle 6. Atom Smashing 7. In The Spirit Of.
Soundtrack Review: The Last of The Mohicans Original Motion Picture Soundtrack by cinematic composers Trevor Jones and Randy Edelman, featuring a song by the group Clannad.
If you are a movie soundtrack music enthusiast, no doubt you have heard the original score for The Last of The Mohicans. The movie itself is a critically acclaimed masterpiece, and equally so for the 1992 Original Motion Picture Soundtrack score for The Last of The Mohicans by cinematic film composers Trevor Jones and Randy Edelman.
Many would agree the 16 songs on The Last of The Mohicans album is in the top 25 best soundtracks, if not one of the best cinematic movie scores ever produced. It’s hard to imagine the movie without the violin melodies and full orchestration like heard in the main title song Promentory composed by Trevor Jones, or the deeply moving song The Courier composed by Randy Edelman. Even the Irish band Clannad of Celtic pop, New Age fame aptly convey fine cinematic qualities on the final song by Clannad titled I Will Find You.
Trevor Jones and Randy Edelman are individually accomplished artists themselves, and top movie soundtrack composers with a long list of popular movie scores to their credit. The two film composers are equally famous for thrilling movie going audiences with their artful cinematic scores considered by many to be among some of the best movie soundtracks ever produced.
The passing of Native American activist and actor Russell Means, who played the leading role of Chingachgook, has brought renewed interest and meaning to his true to life role, the movie, and this excellent movie soundtrack, which survives today as one of the most fascinating music scores in the movie soundtrack genre.
Find The Last of The Mohicans at Amazon.com in CD and digital downloads, and visit the composers at TrevorJonesFilmMusic.com and RandyEdelman.com. Please Note: The YouTube video shows actual film scenes from the motion picture, which has an R Rating, so the video below is not suitable for younger viewers. The HD quality video is the song Promentory from Last of the Mohicans soundtrack. Big Stock Photo – PosterPuppy.
55th GRAMMY® Awards – Program Schedule and Event Information for the 55th GRAMMY® Awards & Nomination Shows Honoring the Best Artists & Best Albums in 2013.
News and schedule information for the 55th GRAMMYS® has been announced giving the date, time and location for the most prestigious music awards honoring the best artists and best albums in 2013.
Complete details for the 55th Music Awards Ceremony specified at the Grammy.com website announce the upcoming date as February 10, 2013, held at the previous location as last year’s ceremony, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.
The CBS Television Network will broadcast the live event in 2013 at 8:00 p.m. – 11:30 p.m. ET/PT. Prior to the Live Awards Ceremony, select GRAMMY® Nominees will be announced in another live concert event on December 5, 2012 in Nashville Tennessee.
The ceremony this year is publicized as “The GRAMMY Nomination Concert Live!! – Countdown To Music’s Biggest Night.” The CBS Television Network will air the live televised show featuring music performances by past winners and nominees on December 5, 2012 at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT and 9:00 p.m. CT.
The Annual GRAMMY® Awards is ranked in viewership popularity as one of the highest rated television special programs. Last year’s televised live 54th Annual Awards program reported 39.9 million viewers worldwide. This year’s primetime live awards presentation is expected to be another record breaking year for TV viewership.
Artists within the New Age, Instrumental, Americana, World, and every other music genre have been submitting their music and ballot information pertaining to their newest release in 2012 in hopes they too will be nominated and eventually selected for a best album award during the televised awards presentation ceremony.
Like previous years I have written articles or interviewed GRAMMY® Award/Nominated artists, so visitors new to this music blog can read more about artists in this year’s and past years award competition in the New Age, Instrumental, Americana, and World music genres.
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.
Pre-release Album Review: The Maiden of Stonehenge by three times GRAMMY® Nominee Dr. Michael Brant DeMaria.
Award-winning Michael Brant DeMaria is a three times GRAMMY® Nominated recording artist, psychologist, author and speaker with a dramatic new soundtrack album for 2012. Four years in the making, The Maiden of Stonehenge is a musical soundtrack to an original theatrical play of the same title co-written by Michael DeMaria and Stephen C. Lott.
Michael DeMaria is an esteemed artist in the new age music community, and like all of his arrangements, The Maiden of Stonehenge is both a significant release and highly anticipated new album in 2012.
Michael DeMaria’s three GRAMMY® Nominations for Best New Age Album of the Year, Bindu, Gaia, Ocean & Siyotanka each have risen to the top #1 position on Zone Music Reporter’s Radio Charts in the New Age Albums category.
Extensive worldwide radio coverage of his four releases in the Ontos Healing Sound Project at XM/Sirius Radio, Soundscape Cable, Satellite and internet radio stations has led to numerous Zone Music Reporter’s Best Album Awards.
First in the Ontos Healing Sound Project Siyotanka won a Native American Music Award and earned a GRAMMY® Nomination in the Best Native American Music Album category, and won ZMR’s Best Native American Album in 2009.
Second in series Ocean won Zone Music Reporter awards in two categories of Best Ambient Album of 2009 and Best Relaxation/Meditation Album of 2009. Gaia likewise was awarded in the two categories of Zone Music Reporter’s Album of the Year and Best World Album. Earlier in 2012, Michael Brant DeMaria’s fourth in the Ontos Healing Sound Project series Bindu debuted at #1 and remained on ZMR’s New Age Radio Chart for two months in a row.
The Maiden of Stonehenge is the most elaborate musical odyssey Michael Brant DeMaria has brought to life yet. Familiar with every one of his releases, Michael’s new album for 2012 will surprise anyone acquainted with his earlier arrangements. The soundtrack recording wonderfully illustrates the story based theme for a musical journey centered on the life and adventures of an young orphan girl in ancient Britain as she finds her way to the ancient Circle of Stones.
Although Michael performs on a number of ethnic flutes, keyboards, and synthesizers like earlier releases, listening to his newest album was truly a revelation since each song is conveyed in unique fashion to all other songs from previous albums. For the first time vocals are uniquely integrated into a number of songs by Michael, and of lead vocalist Maggie Crain on the songs Chantress & Stonehenge.
Beginning with the deeply mysterious first overture Lost Village to the harmonious conclusion in the final song Stonehenge, each scene is crafted to reveal a vivid musical adventure. Inside the audio CD album, cover notes give the setting to each of the 13 songs that enable the listener to follow the storyline.
The Sounds True record label is another store where you can find the two albums In The Flow & Solace. Both albums are designed for patient therapy and emotional well-being in his professional role as a Music Therapist. The Maiden of Stonehenge is the most impressive album to compliment the long linage of award-winning albums by new age, instrumental and world music recording artist Michael Brant DeMaria.
Visit Michael Brant DeMaria’s Ontos.org music section to sample and purchase his albums, or visit the store page for Michael DeMaria at Amazon.com, CDBaby and iTunes. The Maiden of Stonehenge is a pre-release currently available at major online stores prior to the official release date of winter 2012-2013. Photos and cover artwork are courtesy ontos.org.
Pre-release Review: The Fire in the Flint by John Adorney & Daya.
Instrumental new age recording artist John Adorney has a sensational new follow-up to his most recent releases John Adorney & Daya – Live! In Concert, River of Breath & The Fountain, all of which are quality releases.
John Adorney’s earliest albums like Trees of Gold, Waiting for the Moon, The Other Shore & Beckoning are similarly top shelf recordings from the award-winning artist who consistently delivers an exciting blend of modern acoustic instrumental and electronic song melodies with pronounced rhythm, grace and style.
The Fire in the Flint is a 10 song collection of John Adorney’s best songs for 2012. For over 25 years, John Adorney has been capturing the hearts and minds of people with his inspiring music, young and old alike. After listening to his newest album The Fire in The Flint, I am happy to say upfront this year is no exception, and clearly everyone will love John Adorney’s new instrumental and vocal album.
The Fire in the Flint has everything you would hope to find in an instrumental with vocals release, but there is something more if you look a little closer. While the music of John Adorney is most often associated in the style of contemporary new age instrumental and world music, the 10 songs on The Fire in the Flint incorporate a broader variation in his eloquent style that appeals to a wider variety of people.
This universal theme quality has always been present, but The Fire in the Flint, is articulated to the fullest which should increase likeability of his newest arrangement to an even broader audience.
If you are an admirer of John Adorney’s earlier albums, you too will say The Fire in the Flint is a wonderful collection of his best songs to date. The eloquent vocals by Daya and cultural African vocals provided by Marcel Adjibi are brilliantly intertwined with a full acoustic ensemble of instrumental professionals.
The Fire in the Flint is an inspiring blend of vocal harmony paired with contemporary instrumentals and upbeat world rhythms that embrace a popular music theme sure to be loved by everyone.
John Adorney performs acoustic and electric guitars, keyboards, dulcimer, cello and banjo, while Daya lends her vocal talents on 4 of the 10 songs. Additional artists are Marcel Adjibi (vocals), Richard Hardy (alto and bamboo flutes), Adam Adorney (strum stick and handclaps), Nathan Adorney (violin, mandolin and handclaps), Abby Adorney and Deborah Press (handclaps) and Luise Kallenberg (bells).
The 10 songs on The Fire in the Flint are; 1. TheEndless Rain – featuring Daya, 2. The Fire in the Flint, 3. Aliho Houn/The Path is Open – featuring Marcel Adjibi, 4. A Beggar’s Fortune, 5. The Heart Cloth – featuring Daya, 6. Sailing by Starlight – featuring Daya, 7. A Moment Noticed – featuring Richard Hardy, 8. Always Remembering You – featuring Daya, 9. Admiration (2012 mix), 10. Dawn.
The Fire in the Flint will be an official release at major music stores November 13, 2012, but you may sample and purchase now exclusively at JohnAdorney.com and Eversound.com. Cover artwork and band photos are courtesy johnadorney.com.
Concert Review: John Adorney and Daya Live! in Concert DVD & CD.
For the first time in over 25 years the heartfelt music of John Adorney and eloquent vocals by Daya is now available on DVD. It was during a live concert in Thousand Oaks, California that a professional recording of their concert performance together is presently being offered on CD or DVD format.
For fans of John Adorney and feature vocalist Daya who had the opportunity to attend this special concert event, it was the first time to hear their favorite hit songs performed live, during an exciting evening presentation given in a close, personal setting. I would imagine most fans of John Adorney and Daya have the CD or Concert DVD by now, but for anyone wanting a short concert review of the event, I can say the relaxed intimate setting added to the evening’s stage performance of the best songs by instrumental composer John Adorney.
The complete song list on the John Adorney & Daya – Live! in Concert CD and DVD are Find the Miracle, Neverending, Comme Le Vent, Waiting for the Moon, Always Remembering You/The Other Shore, As My Heart Desires, Drifting, River of Breath, Yilowe, Even in Your Darkest Hour, The Gathering & Every Moment. The recording is nearly an hour and a half in duration. DVD chapters include the Concert, Song Selection, Behind the Music Chapter and Slideshow.
The artists performing with John Adorney and Daya include guest artist Marcel Adjibi, Victor Bisetti (Los Lobos) drums, Eduardo Del Signore (Dionne Warwick) bass, Ricardo Hambra percussion, Richard Hardy (Dave Matthews Band) flute, Mike Fortunato trumpet, Stuart Hoffman keyboards, Fuzzbee Morse (Frank Zappa) guitar, keyboards and flute, Cara Tower guitar, vocals, plus Lauren Evers, Sandra Provencio and Helen Waters performing vocals.
Sample or purchase John Adorney & Daya – Live in Concert at JohnAdorney.com and Eversound.com Record Label. While you are visiting Eversound find John Adorney’s new album The Fire in the Flint and the best new music by quality artists, including The 15th Anniversary Concert album – The Artists of EverSound Live 11. Photos are courtesy eversound.com.
Yanni Concert Tour Dates in 2013 – World Without Borders.
International concert artist Yanni and his orchestra have just released new concert information for 2013. While there are two remaining concerts in Brazil scheduled for 2012 the newly updated Yanni Concert Tour for 2013, billed as World Without Borders, and tour scheduling information has just begun.
Earlier this year, Yanni and his orchestra performed before sold out concert venues in Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Asia and most recently in a North American Tour 2012, which incorporated a live concert DVD and CD recording in Puerto Rico titled Yanni-Live at El Morro, Puerto Rico.
The 2013 concert season defined by a World Without Borders theme having an integrated message of unity, announces a harmonious tone shared each year by the Yanni team and millions of Yanni fans worldwide.
Presently there are concert venues in 2013 scheduled in Australia, and a new itinerary for Yanni of the island country New Zealand. Additional information on the orchestra musicians and soloists performing with Yanni in 2013 was not given but concertgoers can be assured his selection of only the best quality instrumentalist and vocalists worldwide will be paramount.
If the Yanni Concert song playlist in 2013 is anything like the previous year, attendees in 2013 can expect to hear songs from Truth of Touch, Yanni-Live at El Morro, along with a number of classic songs that have become fan favorites over the years. Visit Yanni.com for the latest news, plus Concert Tour information and upcoming tour schedule updates. If you want to read what concert attendees may expect in 2013, like the song playlist, performing vocalists and solo artists for 2013, read my Yanni Concert Review – Live at El Morro. Photo and Banner courtesy Yanni-Wake Entertainment.
Yanni Concert Tour 2013 – World Without Borders.
International Festival of the Mayan Culture:
November 2, 2013: Yanni will be the featured performer for the first International Festival of the Mayan Culture. Watch a promotional video and find more information on Yanni’s live performance at the upcoming Festival of the Mayan Culture concert show at Ficmaya.com.
Please Note: For Yanni’s 2013 & 2014 concert schedule updates visit the Yanni.com Tour Page.
Michael Cretu – Making Enigma MMX The Social Song.
The fan friendly musical project Enigma is well known for offering fans trendsetting new projects. The Social Song is but one example of the total Enigma experience. The Top 10 Player is a new feature for fans to share the masterful projects by Enigma founder Michael Cretu.
Enigma’s Top Ten Player is another new interactive way to enhance the overall experience by enabling visitors to rate their favorite Enigma songs and videos, which results in a Top 10 Audio and Top 10 Video hit list selection for visitors to listen or watch full length streams.
Enigma MMX (The Social Song) designed by founder Michael Cretu was a unique way to generate new excitement by allowing fans to participate during the entire collaboration process over a 3 month period. The Top 10 Player is another fan friendly new project.
While the worldwide media event for Enigma MMX (The Social Song) is now a reality, visitors can now sign up for free membership to Enigma’s Top 10 Player that gives members exclusive access to a full length, top hit list of songs, videos and more.
Visit EnigmaSpace.com for the latest news, new music and to watch the official YouTube video of Enigma’s MMX The Social Song. Shown below is an official YouTube video around 30 minutes long with Michael Cretu, during which he and others describe Making of Enigma MMX (The Social Song).
Sarah Brightman News – Dreamchaser World Concert Tour, Dreamchaser Album & Upcoming Spaceflight to ISS in 2013 Announced.
When describing the life and career of international celebrity Sarah Brightman, one can describe her amazing career of singer, actress, songwriter and dancer as an out of this world superstar in every respect. We now have another reason to place Sarah Brightman in the star celebrity category. Already an interstellar idol for many persons, she is about to embark on the intrepid journey of a lifetime.
Days ago on October 10, 2012 Sarah Brightman released a press announcement about her upcoming spaceflight to the International Space Station (ISS) for a 10 day interstellar excursion. After having passed evaluation tests she is now approved by the ISS to begin training for her Russian Space Federation flight aboard a Soyuz Space Rocket.
The exact spaceflight schedule date after her aeronautical training is completed will be determined by the International Space Station team partners at a forthcoming date. During the news statement video Sarah Brightman told of her current flight status, and also gave details about her newest album entitled Dreamchaser, which has a release date of April 16, 2013.
Concert information for the Sarah Brightman World Concert Tour in 2013 was also provided during the live news conference. Her 2013 World Tour, with over 100 concert dates originates in the North American continent on September 13, 2013 in the Canadian province of Hamilton, Ontario, covering 5 continents with concert tickets and VIP packages taking place.
During the course of her professional career, Sarah Brightman has acquired 180 Gold and Platinum awards in over 40 countries worldwide, and reached over 30 million in album sales.
Already a brilliant star in every sense by the accomplishment of many firsts during her career, her ambitious intercontinental World Concert Tour in 2013, and upcoming travel destination of the International Space Station will give new meaning to the expression superstar!
Visit the new SarahBrightman.com website for more news and for World Concert Tour 2013 ticket information. Below is the official YouTube video of the live news broadcast she provided in Moscow, Russia. Space Shuttle photo courtesy NASA – Big Stock Photo Rkasprzak.
Sarah Brightman News – Dreamchaser Album Release in 2013 and Spaceflight to the International Space Station aboard Soyuz Rocket.
For international music celebrity Sarah Brightman the year 2013 will surely be one of the most memorable years of her esteemed career of professional vocalist, actress, songwriter and dancer. With 2013 arriving before long, look for her next starring role as a space cosmonaut included in her incredible list of lifetime achievements.
In a live news broadcast Sarah Brightman provided details of her upcoming flight to the International Space Station in 2013 during a press release in Moscow, Russia. There will be more about this special announcement soon, but I can tell you Sarah Brightman will begin cosmonaut training, after getting word she passed preliminary evaluation tests. You may watch the official news release at her newly designed website where she describes this extraordinary aerospace voyage as a dream come true.
Dreamchaser is the new album by classical crossover superstar Sarah Brightman, set to be released on April 16, 2013. The first song titled Angel and second song One Day Like This are two exclusive song singles you can sample from her highly anticipated new album.
The entire list and title of all songs is not given at this time from what I can tell, but first song Angel is as exquisitely performed as you might expect. The first single song Angel is a sensational melody that is wholeheartedly captivating by the contemporary vocal and lyrical propensity for which Sarah Brightman is famous.
Sarah Brightman’s new album Dreamchaser is surely destined to be one of the hottest new releases in 2013! With 180 Gold and Platinum awards in over 40 countries worldwide, including her #1 Chart topping hit in the UK titled I Lost My Heart to a Starship Trooper, Dreamchaser could be her newest album to rocket into the stratosphere!
Discover the new SarahBrightman.com website to download the first song titled Angel and share your thoughts on the news in the fan community forum upon membership. After you sign up, fans may also access exclusive news, photos, videos and new music samples. Below is the official music video for first song Angel, from her upcoming 2013 album Dreamchaser. Space Shuttle photo courtesy NASA – Big Stock Photo Rkasprzak.
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.