Indie pop rock group A Lion Named Roar who we named an “artist to watch” has won American Songwriter and Martin Guitar’s “The Pub Deal,” a year-long publishing contract with LA-based publisher Secret Road Music. The Louisville-based group has been building a strong, loyal following across the Southeast and Midwest with their emotive, driving brand of indie-pop. They’re hard at work writing for an upcoming full length they expect to release in 2015. The band has upcoming Louisville performances in January. Check out the track Riches Or Gold.
“The Best Emerging Artists of 2014”
Justin Kump, the singer-songwriter has begun to make a mark. His album debuted on the U.S. iTunes Singer-Songwriter Chart earning him solid press, and Sirius XM invited him to perform on at their studios in NYC. This ability to craft catchy but sincere songs has garnered comparisons to James Taylor, Phillip Phillips, and Damien Rice since his arrival on the scene in 2006. He’s a musician’s musician (having once recorded and mixed a full album in a makeshift studio of blankets and a ping-pong table in his brother’s family room), and is an engaging performer whose songs are the perfect soundtrack for sun-drenched picnic days and shared starry nights. But Justin’s complete mastery of the guitar is the cornerstone of his ability to connect with any audience, and is at the foundation of his Spring 2014 release, The Night is Young. Check out his track The Night is Young.
Emmy Bachmann is a brand new artist on the scene yet has already been dubbed a blond bombshell singer-songwriter by PopWrapped. Her new 6 song EP is a collection of songs that tells a different part of her life story. They are honest, personal and versatile similar to the music styles of Adele, Alanis Morissette, Christina Perry and Lana Del Rey. Our favorite tracks are I Don’t Love Him and Rescue Yourself.
Vava Voom created a buzz with her song Supersonic featuring Sean Kingston. Chasing those dreams while on a holiday trip to America in 2010 changed her life. A chance meeting with a like-minded producer and songwriter would make it possible for her to live the dream of working on her music outside of Switzerland. Compiling a host of trips and experiences in New York City, Vava Voom’s music and style would start to take on a new look, shape and sound. Pop music that she thought was fun, sexy and cool, with no boundaries, and the imagery to accompany that. From electro and indy-pop, to house and genre bending traces of rock and urban, nothing was off limits. “It sounds like a uniquely directed, cool iTunes radio station. Lots of stuff that you like all in one.” With this newly found confidence, she got her bearings as a songwriter, guitarist, piano player and a powerhouse singer, “at the same !@#$%^&* time”! CONTINUE READING
Wind-up Records has long been known as the house that Creed built. Although they are an independent label, they’ve been home to many chart toppers in the Active Rock and Alternative genres. Over the last few years, Wind-up has been branching out, picking up artists that seem out of place on a roster that once included Drowning Pool and Evanescence. Kings of A&R caught up with Wind-Up A&R director, Shawn Cohen, to find out more about their new eclectic roster that includes bands such as The Griswolds and SPEAK and how they are transitioning into new genres.
Wind-up has been picking up some surprising new bands. Where is all that coming from?
We have been known as the house of active rock for a very long time and we’re trying to be creative and showing the world that we can do mainstream, alternative, pop…we’re not just rock. We want to work with music that we love, no matter the genre.
What’s your favorite artist that you’re working right now?
Hands down, The Griswolds. Not just because I signed them, but they are just from fans to music the most intriguing, fun, exciting people and it shows all around. Their social media, their recorded music, their live shows, they are a very dynamic band.
How’d you find them?
I found The Griswolds in the blog scene. They had posted their first song , Heart of the Lion. It was under the radar when I heard the song and I was really into them. I did some homework and saw they were doing well on Triple J (Australian Radio). I listened to their other songs and I thought it was very creative and refreshing so I reached out to them. CONTINUE READING
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
Taylor Swift “Blank Space” 41,000 downloads
Hozier “Take Me To Church” 30,000 downloads
Mark Ronson “Uptown Funk” 27,000 downloads
Ed Sheeran “Thinking Out Loud” 24,000 downloads
Meghan Trainor “Lips Are Movin” 17k downloads
Marina and The Diamonds “Happy” 13k
Taylor Swift “Shake It Off” 12k
Sam Smith “Im Not The Only One” 11k
The White Buffalo & The Forest Rangers “Come Join The Murder” 10k
Meghan Trainor “All About The Bass” 10k