Kalyde-1

Kalyde infuses pop, reggae and rock and is fronted by Naia Kete. She was on Season 2 of “The Voice” Team Blake. Since the show, she toured and performed festivals including Bonnaroo and Outside Lands. Her last EP “Fire Breather,” was produced by Mikal Blue. She co-wrote songs with Colbie Caillat, Linda Perry, among others. Her new band Kalyde has released two singles and are working on their debut acoustic EP.

Many fans know you from your time spent as a contestant on NBC’s The Voice. How did the audition come about?

Well I had just moved to Los Angeles and was living in Studio City. The auditions were in Burbank, only 10 minutes away, and I thought, why not?!

Tell me about your experience with The Voice. What did you learn?

Honestly the most valuable take away for me was to learn to listen and trust my own inner voice, and that I always have a choice. If something doesn’t feel quite right, I have the ability to speak up and make sure that I’m able to express myself in away that feels true to myself, my sound and my message. Being on stage of that magnitude and seen by so many people over night, you learn very quickly that a moment like is like no other, and you need to make sure people get to see who you truly are and what you’re about. As artists we have an opportunity to change people’s lives and the world with a single song, it’s an incredible responsibility and blessing. I’m grateful to have learned that so early on in my career. CONTINUE READING

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Freedom Fry

Freedom Fry is the the alter-ego of French songstress, Marie Seyrat, and Michigan-born musical chameleon, Bruce Driscoll (Blondfire / Avicii). The duo reside in Los Angeles, CA and make desert warm, bittersweet, retro-inspired, indie-pop music. They’ve played alongside Phantogram, Mothxr, Grizfolk, We Are Scientists, Echosmith, Superhumanoids, Dan Wilson (Semisonic), Juliana Hatfield & Matthew Caws (Nada Surf) and were the Artist in Residence at ALT 98.7. Where you’ve seen them: iTunes “New and Noteworthy,” Nylon, Filter, Glamour, Earmilk, Hilly Dilly, Indie Shuffle, Ryan’s Smashing Life, “How The Sun Sees You” (viral Youtube video with over 13,000,000 views), Wild Honey Pie, Kick Kick Snare, The 405, Mr Suicide Sheep, Blah Blah Blah Science, Daytrotter, MTV Artist To Watch, Les Inrockuptibles and more.

You have been building a strong base and fan community along with a buzz. Was there a pivotal moment when this began to take shape? Was it a song on the radio? A performance? A music blog?

Bruce: It’s hard to pinpoint a single pivotal moment. Being in a band is something akin to continually walking upwards on a staircase made up of the tiniest steps imaginable. You almost don’t know you’re getting somewhere until you stop for a while and look around and realize you’re at another level from where you started. These “look around” moments for us have been things like the first time we saw someone in the audience singing along or the first time we got to the top of hype machine. You kind of all look at each other and go, ‘hey this might work out.’

Marie: Everybody who’s supported and helped us get the word out has been vital. Every blogger, radio DJ, and fan has made a difference. After you first featured us a year or so ago we had a well known music supervision company reach out who discovered us on your site. We ended up getting lots of licenses from that and it helped build our fan base by getting the music heard.

Has social networking helped get your music exposed to a wider audience?

Bruce: One hundred percent. Looking back, I’m not sure how we could have done anything without it.

Marie: As an indie band it gives us a much louder voice and a means to communicate with anyone looking for new music. CONTINUE READING

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Step rockets

We recently had a chance to catch up with Step Rockets, a Kings favorite. We named Step Rockets a top 8 emerging artist as well as a “Year End Best Artist. Step Rockets burst onto the international music scene with their single Kisser, a self-released indie pop anthem that shot to #1 on the Hype Machine charts just weeks after its release.The Minneapolis foursome has built a reputation for their cosmic recycling of music past and present. The band seamlessly blends New Wave, Reggae, and EDM through the lens of a psychedelic rock band, churning out indie pop gems that keep the listener coming back for more.

You have had lots of underground success. What was the pivotal moment when the press started taking notice?

Thanks! The big turning point was when our song “Kisser” went to #1 on Hype Machine late in the summer of 2013. It was a totally organic moment and surreal experience. A few blogs picked it up, and people started to really connect and retweet the song. It was a fun seeing all of our hard work finally pay off.

Just 13 days after the release of “Kisser”, the track hit #1 on Hype Machine garnering 200,000+ SoundCloud plays. Did that lead to major attention?

Yeah, things started happening quickly. A lot of people within the music industry reached out to the band immediately after the song hit #1. We had people from major labels contacting us, as well as agents, managers, and lawyers. We were completely DIY at the time, and I remember sitting in a coffee shop and sending out about 150 emails to music blogs to keep the hype going. After we had those initial numbers it was a great talking point for blogs and press to open up our e-mails and listen to our story. Since then we have toured the nation and been apart of some great festivals and have really found out what works for us. CONTINUE READING

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BenMcLane-interview

At Kings of A&R, we get a lot of questions from  artists about how to build their team, especially when and how to get a good entertainment lawyer. We spoke with Ben McLane from McLane & Wong to get some answers to these commonly asked questions. Ben McLane has published articles on the music business in magazines and books including, Alternative Press, & Billboard Encyclopedia of Record Producers, and spoke at numerous music and entertainment/media conferences worldwide, including SXSW and NAMM. He has participated in numerous and diverse projects involving, but not limited to, legendary artists such as Weezer, No Doubt, Eric Clapton, Rolling Stones,  Bonnie Raitt, Cher, Eagles, Guns & Roses, and many more.

What do you do for artists?

We are an entertainment law firm with a focus on music, and we represent artists, producers, songwriters, labels, publishers, etc. Essentially, we handle all of our clients transactional matters such as contracts, advice, negotiations, making connections, protecting rights such as copyright/trademarks, setting up a business entity, resolve/mediate disputes, and on occasion shopping record or publishing deals. Our firm does not litigate.

When should an artist seek out an attorney to add to their team?

It varies, but certainly once the industry starts offering contracts for the artist to sign it is a necessity. Before that, if an artist is serious about a career it might make sense to have a lawyer get involved early to maybe assist them with protecting their rights (trademark/copyright, help the get their band partnership agreement in place, and set up an LLC or Inc.), or to help build the team (i.e., manager and agent).

What do you look for in an artist?

Someone (band, solo act, or producer) who has a unique sound, writes great songs, has charisma, will perform live/tour, and has the drive to make it.

After an artist is finished recording a song, what would be the next step?

These days the best thing would be to post the song to all the relevant blogs, on Twitter, Facebook and also have it available for sale on iTunes. Having a video (even a lyric video) to promote the song on YouTube would also be wise. CONTINUE READING

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TomSturges-interview

Renowned music industry executive Tom Sturges literally wrote the book on creativity. In his most recent work, Every Idea Is A Good Idea, he explores the two primary types of creativity- individual and collaborative. While the book is a must-read no matter what you do, filled with excellent advice and exercises to help anyone find their creative center and learn to access it more efficiently, many of us work with artists every day in a non-creative capacity. We followed up with him to find out a little more about how to have a successful relationship with truly creative people, and see what creative turns he has taken to end up where he is today.

In the book Every Idea Is A Good Idea you talk about how deeply personal the creative process is, and how it shouldn’t really be discussed. When you said that a one-hit wonder will go on and on about how a song just came to them, I laughed out loud. We all know those guys. Can you give me a few questions one can ask to get a good read on whether or not a new artist is really tuned in to their creative center? Or is producing material the only way to really know?

True artistry is very genuine, and very truthful in its presentation. And you know the truth when you see, and more importantly, hear it. In a strange way, it’s almost as if the performer doesn’t really care if anyone is listening or not, as if he or she is so in tune with their own music and art that the presence of a witness is insignificant. Picasso could not tell you how he painted, but he could tell you how empty his life would be without his art.

So the questions to ask a new artist would relate to their inspirations, their artistry, their big dream, their favorite song that has ever been written (not their own, I hope), what they were like in high school, and that kind of thing. Come at them from the perspective of complete respect and see how they respond.

You have worked with a lot of very extremely creative people and in your book you share one particular story about an encounter you had early in your career with Carole King. You have picked up a lot of wisdom about creativity itself, but what can you share regarding what you’ve learned about working with creative people, from the business end of things?

Between an artist and the record, there are several intermediaries, including the producer, engineer, mastering engineer, mixer, a&r, etc. Between the songwriter and the song there is no one. When working with artists, the music is almost like a third person in the room, probably because it required so many others to successfully create it. When working with the writer and talking about the song, you might as well be talking about a family member.

The bottom line is that one must be completely respectful of a creator’s art, and allow plenty of room for ego and dreams to co-exist with the vocal, instrumentation, the lyrics and melodies. But, before sharing an opinion with someone about their work, find out if it’s the FINAL version, i.e., cannot be changed no matter what versus a DRAFT, i.e., still a work in progress. If it’s the latter, feel free to say whatever you like. But if it’s the former, pay a compliment relative to your view of the work and say no more.

What do you think it takes to have a successful working relationship with an extremely creative person when you’re not really a collaborator?

If you are working with someone and you are not a collaborator, you need to pick the role you intend to play. Possibly you are the sounding board (listen to all ideas and offer comments and suggestions), the enabler/facilitator (organizer of studio time and finder of musicians, but with no “creative” role to play), or the fan (who loves everything, no matter what). The thing I find most creators need most is believers. So if you cannot be any of the three above, just believe. CONTINUE READING

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