Sheryl Crow biography

Sheryl Crow
Sheryl Crow
For Sheryl Crow, the title of her seventh album isn’t just a location; it’s a state of mind. “I grew up in a small town 100 miles from Memphis, and that informed not only my musical taste, but how I look at life,” she says. “The drive to Memphis is all farmland, and everyone is community-oriented, God-fearing people, connected to the earth. The music that came out of that part of the world is a part of who I am, and it’s the biggest inspiration for what I do and why I do it.”

So for the Kennett, Missouri native, calling the disc 100 Miles From Memphis is a statement of purpose, both musical and emotional. It also marks a long-awaited return by the nine-time Grammy winner to the sounds that first drew her to making music.

“This is something I’ve been thinking about for a long time,” says Crow. “When (manager Scooter Weintraub) first started working with me twenty years ago, what he heard in me was that I had heavy influences from the South—Delaney and Bonnie, all the Stax records. So for years he’s been asking me, ‘When are you going to make that record?’”

The results evoke a time when soul and passion filled the radio waves, when the sweat and joy of a recording session could be captured forever on wax. Sometimes the musical references—Al Green, Sly and the Family Stone, Stevie Wonder—are made apparent, but the album’s eleven songs are characterized more by capturing a classic spirit than by imitating any specific style.

Crow explains that the way 100 Miles From Memphis was recorded is crucial to its slinky grooves and rolling rhythms. Produced by Doyle Bramhall II and Justin Stanley (“I knew they could get that old soul feeling with authenticity,” she says), and cut mostly live with a regular crew of musicians, the album presented a new set of challenges for her as a singer and a songwriter.

“This wasn’t like any other record I’ve made,” she says. “We cut two, three, sometimes four tracks a day, for ten or twelve days. We wrote a lot of music, and then I had to write lyrics later, to catch up. That was definitely a new experience, feeling like I had to do homework. It was super-daunting.”

With the musical direction already established, the album’s messages crystallized in one night at Crow’s farm, outside of Nashville. “Having a three year old, you don’t get too much quiet time,” she says, “but I sat up one night, and I worked all night long and came up with the better part of five lyrics.”

What emerged was a set of songs that are unusually open and direct for someone often celebrated for the care and craft of her writing. “This music called for emotion, a place of sensuality and sexuality, and that’s a little challenging for me,” she says. “Sometimes it’s easier for me to hide behind more intellectual lyrics. So it was a great stretching experience to show more vulnerability in my writing.”

The songs on 100 Miles From Memphis display impressive range, in feeling and performance. First single “Summer Day” is a delightfully breezy slice of glory-days AM radio pop. “I wanted to experiment with writing something simple and positive,” says Crow. “The feeling of a great, solid love—not just a new love, but something everlasting.”

The spare, dramatic ballad “Stop” (the one song on the album for which Crow has sole writing credit) is a powerful vocal showcase that struggles with some hard truths. “That one is really a plea to make everything quit going so fast,” she says. “Life has reached this epic point of being out of control. There’s so much chaos everywhere you look. And especially when you have a little kid, you just want to protect the people you love from all that pain.”

Though the album features a tighter focus on Crow’s voice than ever before, a few high-profile guest stars did stop by the sessions. When she cut “Eye to Eye,” with its loping reggae groove, there was only one guitarist she could imagine adding his signature slashing riffs to the mix—her old friend Keith Richards. “He has been such a champion for me, and the Stones gave me so many breaks along the way, from very early on,” she says. (When Richards recorded his part at Electric Lady studios, the New York City facility built for Jimi Hendrix, he started reminiscing about the incomparable guitar wizard; “we were all like little kids at story hour,” says Crow.) Citizen Cope appears on a hazy, impassioned duet of his “Sideways,” a song Crow says she has long wanted to record and one of several string-heavy arrangements on 100 Miles From Memphis.

Another guest demonstrates her appeal across generations. A Memphis native named Justin Timberlake dropped by one of Crow’s sessions at Henson Studios in Los Angeles (the former A&M studio), and offered to contribute background vocals to a version of Terence Trent D’Arby’s 1987 smash “Sign Your Name” that was being recast in the style of Al Green, right down to the distinctive thud of the Hi Records drums. “He’s hysterical and super-smart, and he knows a lot about a lot of different kinds of music,” Crow says. “I’m totally impressed in every way.”

The final surprise, for both the singer and the listener, came out of a run through of an obscure Marvin Gaye song called “It’s a Desperate Situation.” The melody reminded Crow of “I Want You Back,” the Jackson 5’s breakthrough 1970 hit, and she started singing those words. Her natural vocal range sounds uncannily like Michael Jackson’s, and when Bramhall and Stanley heard it, they insisted on recording the song then and there. The album’s “bonus track” was done in one take; they even had to add the song’s introduction afterwards because they had gone straight into the lyric.

Crow, of course, first reached the spotlight as a back-up singer with Michael Jackson, and adds that “I Want You Back” was the first single she ever bought. “It wasn’t a conscious choice to do an homage, but it wound up being a very bittersweet thing,” she says. “Michael’s death brought a lot of stuff back for me, so it was nice that we could include this.”

For Sheryl Crow, 100 Miles From Memphis is the right album at the right moment. “My last record (2008’s Detours) was pretty political, extremely personal, and more lyric-driven,” she says, “so it seemed like a great time to do something soulful and sexy and more driven by the music.” It took a lot of years, but with this set of songs, she finally made it back home.

Lights Over Paris biography

Robb University aka “TaLLLLL”- Vocals
W/P – Keys
Devin Bronson – Guitars
Dave Gentry aka Big D. Dave – Drums
Mike Torres – Bass

Who are Lights Over Paris?

As a teenager in 2005, W/P did a web search for “singers” for his band The Voice to compete in a battle of the bands. Singer TaLLLLL responded to the search and what would eventually be Lights Over Paris, began to take shape. After competing in battle of the bands, the two of them took all their savings, rented out a cheap studio and cut eight songs. They posted these songs on their MySpace page. Soon they captured the attention of songwriter and producer Matt “JetSet” Salazar. The Voice broke up but Salazar came in and cut four new songs and brought in another addition, DJ Shiny to help W/P and TaLLLLL shape the sound of the band now known as Lights Over Paris.

Lights Over Paris operates with a group mentality. The lyrical content, stage show and party atmosphere are a direct representation of the music that pours through the blood of each member. Front man TaLLLLL writes the lyrics and melodies summoning his own life experiences as well as his active imagination. W/P rocks out on his custom Keytar providing the piano based tracks that are evident throughout Lights Over Paris’ music. W/P has been a noted classical piano player since the age of five. Lead Guitarist Devin Bronson is the seasoned veteran of Lights Over Paris as he has not only toured with multi-platinum acts like Avril Lavigne but also helmed the music director reigns, the same position he holds with Lights Over Paris. Dave Gentry has been playing drums since 12 years old, touring since a teenager and kicks ass on the Pork Pie Lights Over Paris kit. Rounding out the band is Mike Torres who was handpicked for his mind blowing bass playing (playing upside down) and leadership, Mike has been touring worldwide for acts such as Ashley Tisdale.

Lights Over Paris dropped its first EP, Turn Off The Lights EP on April 13, 2010 on Type One Records/Digital Records. With musical influences ranging from AC/DC and Oingo Boingo, Kanye West and Lady Gaga to Blink 182 and Green Day, Lights Over Paris is not limited to one particular genre. “The EP is really designed to have very unique tracks that suit various types of moods the audience could be feeling on any given day. I wanted to make an album where all the songs didn’t sound the same”, says TaLLLLL, “My influences were all over the place.”
Although the music comes first, the social interactions come in a close second. Lights Over Paris is the marriage of music and the show Entourage. The parties are not just a way to blow off steam as much as they are a way to bringing fans to that next level of being a part of your favorite band. “People should expect a lot of movement and random events happening throughout the show” states TaLLLLL “A little after party to get to know the fans, always something eventful. Fans are most important to us.” Lights Over Paris have been known to create events just so that fans can get involved and get the most out of there Lights Over Paris experience.

The first single, a radio SMASH called “Turn Off The Lights”, produced by Kevin Rudolf (“Let It Rock”) is heating up the airwaves. The band is now preparing for its first nationwide tour to kick off on the West Coast this FALL! The guys always have a plan lined up before and after the show, so regardless of anything else, people who come to a Lights Over Paris show can count on having an INSANE night!

Gin Wigmore biography

Gin Wingmore
Gin Wingmore
Once you’ve heard Gin sing, you won’t forget the name.

For the uninitiated, here are the basics on the sublimely talented Gin Wigmore.

Gin is 23, a Kiwi, a gifted songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and she sings like you’ve never heard anyone sing before.

Gin was born in Auckland, lives in Sydney and has just recorded her brilliant debut album, Holy Smoke, in Hollywood’s famed Capitol Studios.

Gin created Holy Smoke with Mike Elizondo as her producer [Fiona Apple, Regina Spektor, Eminem, Nelly Furtado, Maroon 5] and with The Cardinals as her backing band [as in the very same Cardinals from Ryan Adams & The Cardinals].

Cardinals’ guitarist Neal Casal has described Gin as “unquestionably one of the most exciting new artists to emerge in many years. Her songwriting is at once diverse, intelligent, melodic, and soulful. Her voice is raw and emotional, with phrasing far beyond her years. Her debut record is a fully realised statement of intent, promising a great career ahead.”

Fellow Cardinal Jon Graboff says: “Gin’s songwriting seems to subtly embrace so many different musical forms and lyrically, there’s often a maturity and depth that you wouldn’t normally associate with someone so young. There’s profound connection between her and all the great, soulful singers who’ve come before her and she adds a new chapter to that story.”

Exactly how did a blonde-and-blue-eyed young Kiwi find herself in Hollywood’s most famous recording studio, sitting on Frank Sinatra’s old leopard skin chair and putting down tracks for her debut album with one of the world’s best rock bands?

If you’ve already heard Gin Wigmore sing, a lot of those questions answer themselves.

Personally, Gin has always felt she’s had a sort of guardian angel – or rather a team of guardian angels – guiding her through the formative years of her music career.

At 16, Gin won the US-based International Songwriting Contest with an aching acoustic ballad called “Hallelujah”, a song she’d penned in honour of her father who’d recently lost his fight with cancer. [Holy Smoke is also dedicated to her dad.] “Hallelujah” was actually one of the first songs she’d ever written, but it made Gin the competition’s youngest ever winner, and also the first unsigned artist to win the major prize, beating 11,000 songwriters from 77 countries.

In late-2007, Gin signed to Island Records in Australia, the local label’s first ever signing. In 2008, she released her critically-acclaimed debut EP, Extended Play, which featured “Hallelujah”, as well as another epic ballad, “These Roses”, alongside celebratory tracks such as “SOS” and “Under My Skin” – songs that left a lasting impression on anyone who heard them.

“Make mine a Gin Wigmore,” wrote the New York Post following the release of the EP. “Smart songs that would work in a coffee house or an arena.”

“One of the most stunning debut EPs ever,” wrote The Daily Telegraph in Sydney. “A star is born.”

On the back of the EP, Gin started touring extensively through Australia and New Zealand. Aside from her own shows, Gin was invited to play support act on Australian tours by Pete Murray and Sparkadia. In New Zealand, she performed on an arena tour alongside John Mellencamp and Sheryl Crow.

In August 2008, Gin was signed to Universal Motown Records USA by label President, Sylvia Rhone and undertook her first US promo trip in October, performing shows in San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles to rapturous media and music industry audiences. “Her voice is quirky and intoxicating, her tunes fun and charming,” blogged Perez Hilton.

Extended Play went top 10 at home in New Zealand, and together with her next release, as guest vocalist on a track called “Brother” by Kiwi hip-hop outfit Smashproof, made Gin a certified new star in NZ. “Brother”, released in January 2009, would go on to top the local singles charts for a record-breaking 11 straight weeks. So how did Gin get here? What forces have conspired to present Gin Wigmore as such a fully-fledged, exciting and original young performer on the verge of international acclaim?

“It’s weird, I’ve had a really different musical upbringing,” offers Gin. “My record collection is ’50s, ’60s, ’70s – it doesn’t really go past that. I haven’t hung out with young bands, I haven’t hung out with young people. I’ve hung out with mostly 45+ [year-olds], all these people who have come into my life that are a lot older who have taught me so much. I’m only 23 but I feel a lot older than that at times. Wisdom has just been splashed on me every day for the last 10 years.”

In fact, from the age of 12, Gin was hanging out in recording studios. As a young teenager, she also had a part-time job in the mail room of Universal Music in Auckland, the same label that years later would be set to take her music to the world [both Island and Motown are Universal imprints].

Gin’s earliest foray into making music herself came at 13 when she started helping her best friend’s dad produce some demos in his home studio. She would occasionally also help out with backing vocals at weddings and parties.

The following year, she was performing at open mic nights in a local bar. “The problem was that I won one night,” Gin laughs. “And you had to give your details and your age and I was only 14. And they were like, ‘Gin – you’re underage? You can’t be in here.’ So they said, ‘Gin, you can’t play here any more.’ After that, I didn’t play any more. So it was double-edged sword. I was really stoked, but also gutted that I couldn’t play anymore.”

It wouldn’t be for another couple of years, after she penned “Hallelujah”, that Gin would refocus on what quickly became a music career.

Now, only a few years on, Gin has produced this rather remarkable debut album, Holy Smoke.

Gin says that the days she spent in Hollywood recording Holy Smoke with The Cardinals and producer Mike Elizondo were quite simply the happiest days of her life so far,

“It was amazing,” Gin gushes. “We were standing in the amazing Capitol Studios, working in Studio B, sitting on Frank Sinatra’s chair, it was just ridiculous. Aretha Franklin has walked through those hallways.”

Gin and the Cardinals formed an instant unshakable bond. “Every day we were coming into the studio so pumped, we’d stay in there for 14 hours. It was awesome,” she says

Holy Smoke was recorded in the same way they used to make all those classic records that Gin loves so much, with her and the band all in the same room together, face-to-face.

“It’s just a great way to make a record,” Gin says. “It’s the best feeling when you’re cutting something live and you’re all looking at each other and you’re out of breath and you’re going, ‘Man, that was it! That was it!’ And everyone’s going, ‘Yeah, that was it!’ It’s just like you all had this magic on you for that three minutes.”

The Cardinals bring to Holy Smoke an intensity and musicality that lifts Gin’s work to a whole new level. But up front, singing for her life, it’s Gin Wigmore’s raspy vocal style that defines this recording.

The 10 songs on Holy Smoke – led by the unmistakable urgency of lead single “Oh My” – almost defy description, a unique hybrid of pop and soul and blues and down-and-dirty rock & roll, often in the same song.

“I wanted all new songs,” Gin says. “I’m in a new chapter of my life. I think I’ve grown up a lot in the last five years so my songs on this record, the majority belong in this new chapter of life, so they show a whole new side to me as well.”

Once you’ve heard Gin sing these songs, you won’t forget the experience. For the uninitiated, as well as everyone who can already call themselves fans, prepare yourself for something special.

This is Gin Wigmore’s debut album, Holy Smoke. Everyone will soon be in agreement that it is a major work from an important new artist.

Esmee Denters biography

Esmee Denters
Esmee Denters
Esmée Denters is undoubtedly on her way to musical stardom, with her debut album filled with songs she co-wrote with a host of top-notch hit-making producers. Esmée is one of the first artists signed to Justin Timberlake’s Interscope imprint Tennman Records, but a mere two years ago, this Dutch 20-year-old was just a pancake house waitress with a webcam and a dream.

An aspiring singer who fell in love with her father’s Stevie Wonder albums as a child, Esmée was 17 when she began posting videos of herself on YouTube singing her favorite hits by Beyoncé, Alicia Keys, Pink, and Natasha Bedingfield, which she recorded in the bedroom of her suburban home of Oosterbeek in the Netherlands. “I had seen all these videos of amateur singers, which gave me the idea,” she says. “I was just interested in what other people thought of my voice,” she says. “My friends had told me they liked my singing, but I was curious to get strangers’ opinions because music was what I really wanted to do.” When the videos were a hit and viewers started to make requests, Esmée was encouraged and began posting several clips a week, including songs she’d written herself. Within nine months, Esmée’s videos had racked up 21 million views and the teenager became the No. 1 Most-Subscribed to Musician in the history of the popular video-sharing website.

It may have been her YouTube popularity that led Timberlake to seek out Esmée six months after her videos began to appear online, but it was her silky, soulful voice, natural charisma, and songwriting talent that sold him on signing her to his label, executive producing and co-producing the majority of her debut album. Timberlake, Chairman/CEO of Tennman Records says, “One of the reasons I started my label was to be able to discover and mentor new talent, and it’s been a great experience guiding Esmée’s development. I’ve been producing her in the studio and working with some other great collaborators on her album, and I’ve seen her writing go to another level. Some people have it and some people don’t – but this girl’s the real deal!”

In the summer of 2007, Justin and Esmée began to write songs together. “Sometimes I would come up with a title and he would suggest a melody,” Esmée says, “or I would come up with a melody and he’d suggest some lyrics. There were no rules.” Timberlake also lined up an impressive list of noted songwriters and producers to collaborate with him and Esmée, such as Polow Da Don (Usher, Ciara), Stargate (Rihanna, Ne-Yo), OneRepublic frontman Ryan Tedder (Leona Lewis, Natasha Bedingfield), and Toby Gad (Beyoncé, Fergie).

The result is an edgy, soulful pop-R&B set that Esmée says “truly reflects who I am as a person. It really sounds like me.” The first single, “Outta Here” is a hybrid of urban beats, pop lyrics and rock attitude, which Esmée explains is “a powerful song with a catchy melody, and above all, it has a strong message that says when someone treats you bad, just get out of that situation and think about yourself first.” The playful, doo-wop-laced “Eyes For You,” the sassy, retro-vibed “Admit It,” and the feisty, urban-flavored anthems “Love Dealer,” and “Victim” capture the side of Esmée “who wants to go out and dance and have fun,” while two beat-driven ballads, the acoustic-flavored “Just Can’t Have It” and the epic-sounding, string-laden “Gravity,” show “that I can also sing about serious stuff.” “Gravity,” which Esmée co-wrote with Timberlake and Timbaland producer protégé Hannon Lane, is about “being in love with somebody who’s bringing you down when you really want to fly,” she says. “I think everyone can relate to the lyrics in that song.”

Relatability was something that was important to Esmée on her debut outing, which is why she was thrilled for the opportunity to co-write the majority of the songs. “If you’re able to write a good song, then why not let you write?’” she explains. “I learned so much from being able to work with such talented, experienced people. When you’re trying to find your way, as I am, it makes you raise your game to be around people who are really good at what they do.”

For Esmée, getting the opportunity to work with a stable of top-flight talent was just another thrilling part of a journey that has been full of surreal moments – like stepping onstage for her first-ever live performance as the opening act for Timberlake on the European leg of his FutureSex/LoveShow Tour in June 2007. The girl who had previously only sung for her webcam was suddenly performing for nearly 70,000 people at the Amsterdam Arena in Holland. She handled it, and the next five stadium shows on the tour, with the confidence of a pro. “I was nervous,” she says, “but once you’re up there and you sing your first song, you don’t want to get off the stage. It’s a feeling I can’t really describe.”

Esmée’s composure also served her well when she was invited to appear a few months later on The Oprah Winfrey Show as part of an episode spotlighting YouTube sensations. “That was crazy,” she says of the experience. “I actually had told all my friends back home that I was going to be on her show someday. So when I got the call I was so excited that I couldn’t believe it was true.”

Esmée knows her path to stardom has been unlikely and she is thankful for everything that has happened to her, from building a loyal fan base on YouTube (her official channel alone has now racked up more than 133 million views), to scoring a record deal with one of her musical idols, to being able to realize her dream of making an album of songs she’s extremely proud of. “It was a strange way to become an artist,” she admits, “but I’m happy it happened this way. This was my way.”

Sons of Sylvia biography

Sons of Sylvia
Sons of Sylvia
“Crazy how you can have everything but time,” Sons of Sylvia frontman Ashley Clark sings in “Revelation,” the band’s autobiographical tale of finding destiny through music and the unbreakable bond of brotherly love. “And I don’t know where I’m going, but I know it’s going fast,” he continues, delivering the passion of truth with every line of the country-rock anthem, beginning with, “I was born the day John Lennon died.”
It’s a fitting introduction to the genre-defying trio whose previous incarnation, The Clark Brothers, won Fox’s American Idol-inspired Next Great American Band in record time and with seemingly little effort. Granted, the three brothers — Ashley, Austin and Adam — individually were well practiced when auditions came around. Ashley had been playing fiddle and singing background vocals in Carrie Underwood’s band, while Austin and Adam had toured with SheDaisy. At the time, all three were living in Nashville (not together), but they didn’t have an actual band to speak of. “We just went down in the basement, filmed ourselves playing a few songs and sent it in,” Ashley explains of the submission process. “And next thing you know, we got a call back.”

“We all kept thinking, ‘How are we going to win a band show without a band,’” adds Adam of their lack of a rhythm section. “So when we got there, it was all a little overwhelming and I just wanted to make it to the top 5. I didn’t think we were gonna get very far in it.” But thanks to fan votes, not only did they make it past the top 5, The Clark Brothers went on to win the 2007 competition, beating out 10,000 contenders for the title and scoring a recording contract with 19 Recordings/Interscope Records in the process. Says Austin: “It was amazing and at the same time, humbling. We just felt very honored that from all the bands, people picked us.”

Call it a fluke, but the way the brothers see their television discovery, it was all a matter of fate and faith. In fact, there are two things Ashley, Austin and Adam have never doubted: that music runs in their blood and wherever it may lead them, that’s the path they were meant to take. Such has been their mantra from a very young age where the siblings, three of 11 born to preacher parents, began playing and touring North America. Over time, the brothers had ostensibly gone their separate ways, at least professionally, until Ashley orchestrated the basement reunion that would lead to the formation of Sons of Sylvia, the name change (inspired by their mother) signifying “a clean, fresh start,” according to Ashley.

What followed their Next Great American Band win were months of nonstop writing as the guys continued on their musical journey. Destination: unknown. “We took everything we love about country music and put it into this record,” Ashley explains. “And after writing, like, 300 songs, we weren’t ready to stop there, so we thought we’d take a leap of faith and do something totally new and different.”

The result? The hard-driving “John Wayne,” in which Austin does to the dobro what autotune did to the pop chorus. Indeed, distortions abound on this track, Ashley proves his vocal range has no limits and Adam takes the mandolin to another dimension. Upping the ante on “50 Ways,” the brothers deliver undeniable hooks while upping the BPMs on their stringed instruments. But it’s on the anthemic “Love Left to Lose,” which Ashley co-wrote with their cousin, hit maker and OneRepublic frontman, Ryan Tedder, that these Sons wear their hearts on their sleeves, while making the audience’s melt. Or at least that’s been the case as nightly sing-alongs have sprung up on Carrie Underwood’s tour, which S.O.S. is opening. “‘Love Left to Lose’ is a special song because Ashley and Ryan have a really cool history of living and traveling together before Ryan made it big,” says Adam. “And now we’re on the same label! It’s so weird how our lives are a series of strange events like that—impossible situations over and over again, becoming possible.”

From Ashley’s purview, nothing was weirder than sitting in a room with his cousin-turned-Grammy nominee, and putting pen to paper. “It was surreal,” Ashley says. “We were just laughing, like, ‘Can you believe this?’ It’s been a crazy road.”

Recorded in Nashville, Los Angeles, and Vancouver, Canada, featuring production by Jack Joseph Puig, Ryan Tedder, Jeff Trott, Brian Howes, Gerald O’Brien, Catt Gravitt, and Mike Shimshack along with co-writes by them and Lindy Robbins, Revelation is the beginning of a newly-charted course for this immensely talented group. And Ashley, who has been on a steady diet of the Beatles, U2, Elvis and The Doors and considers himself a “late bloomer,” is gladly leading the charge — with gusto and swagger. “I think in my heart, I’m more of a rocker,” he says. “For a long time, it was like I couldn’t always express myself or how I really feel. Now, I want to go wild and dance around the stage.”

Benjamin Taylor biography

Benjamin Taylor
Benjamin Taylor
Benjamin Taylor’s memorable melodies, immaculate acoustic guitar playing and insightful, honest lyrics have been captivating fans since the moment he embarked on this journey. The son of James Taylor and Carly Simon, Taylor’s life was always centered on music, although he spent several years traveling the world, developing a deep appreciation for the earth and the outdoors. Making music has become as natural as breathing to Taylor. Accordingly, this approach has colored his songwriting to create music that defies genre definitions. Taylor seamlessly merges the sounds and styles of rock, pop, folk and hip-hop. His albums often run the gamut from sonically spacious acoustic numbers to layered vocals, beats and unique samples. Taylor’s honest music is led by what is often described as his tuneful and expressive voice, the kind of voice that makes its impact with the smallest turn of a whispered phrase.

His third full-length album, The Legend of Kung Folk, Part 1 (The Killing Bite), was released in 2008 to rave reviews. Taylor put the “kick” back into folk music to reveal the humor, wit and skill of a singer-songwriter who’s comfortable in both his own skin and with his impressive musical legacy. Benjamin’s acclaimed previous releases include his debut album, Famous Among the Barns, and Another Run Around The Sun, which was hailed on BBC Radio 2 as “LP of the Week.” All have been released on Iris Records, owned and run by Taylor and industry veteran/musician, Larry Ciancia. It’s a place where the duo is able to control their artistic decisions and create opportunities for other like-minded artists. Taylor has performed on such national television shows as Good Morning America, The Tonight Show, The CBS Morning Show, Last Call with Carson Daly, and was featured on an A&E Biography profile as well as on the Howard Stern radio show. He also made his acting debut with a recurring role on NBC’s American Dreams as Cal, a struggling singer/songwriter. Taylor has been featured in countless magazines including People Magazine, Vogue and has even appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone.He has toured extensive for years with artists such as Blues Traveler, Sheryl Crow, Ziggy Marley and Dar Williams.

Owl City – Adam Young – biography

Owl City
Owl City
In the state of Minnesota lies a small town called Owatonna with roughly twenty-two thousand inhabitants. Within that city is a quiet road with a modest house. In that house there’s an unkempt basement with no windows. Within those confines you’ll find Adam Young of Owl City hard at work on his electronic and melodically infectious music of simple and singular beauty. Inside this “cave,” as Adam likes to describe it, he has begun to quickly win over a large audience thirsty for something genuine, something sublime. The proof is in the music as Owl City’s first official CD – Ocean Eyes – was released July 21st, 2009 and debuted at #27 on the Billboard Top 200, #2 on Billboard’s Electronic Albums chart and #3 on the Digital Albums Chart.
Being an only child in a small town, and having no musicians in his immediate family, Adam is hard pressed to say how it all started. Explaining that he always had a “push” to be creative, Adam picked up his first guitar in junior high school. Growing up in a “sheltered bubble” and being one of the more shy kids around the neighborhood, Adam seemed compelled to lend his time and creative ideas to music. “I’ve always been the shy guy, I don’t see that changing, but I definitely feel a lot more comfortable than I anticipated. I can hide behind the music.”

While his music continues to win followers all over the world, Adam does indeed hide behind his music, not going by his real name (See: Badly Drawn Boy and Dashboard Confessional); but going by the moniker Owl City. Adam was searching more for a mood when coming up with a title for his sound, rather than something easily identifiable. He goes on to explain that most of the artists that catch his eye have something unique about their name, something that lingers.
So one has to ask: how did this Owl City phenomenon begin? How does a young artist writing songs underneath his garage, acoustic foam and books everywhere, reach an audience of millions? “I’m still trying to figure it out,” Adam laughs. “Back in June of 2007 it kind of started on a whim. My parents were away for the weekend, and wanting to be loud and make some noise and whatever, I began writing versions of what became my first, self released digital EP – Of June. I put it up on MySpace the following month and didn’t tell anyone.”

Word of mouth began to spread for Adam’s music, with demands coming from various parts of the country for an album. Maybe I’m Dreaming, released digitally in March of 2008, was Owl City’s full-length debut. The album was a clear representation of Owl City’s progression as an artist. Adam became a phenomenon on MySpace and in just over a year had more than 7 million profile views and 40 million plays; outstanding for such a short span of time. It was clear that Owl City was making a colossal impact on the music scene.

What might be swirling through his head after such a quick and sudden start at stardom? “The biggest thing I was concerned-slash-worried about was the live performance – never having played a show as ‘Owl City.’ There was a lot of apprehension.” Adam’s concern, about being a one-man wizard on the keyboard, “hunched over a computer,” was put to the test at his first gig in early 2009. Most, if not all, of his fears were quickly put to rest as Adam played to a sold out show in Minneapolis. “It was surreal,” Adam says “to have people buying your t-shirts, singing the words – louder than I was; it felt so good.” And Adam will be hearing a lot more people singing his words as he tours with his full band throughout North America, China and Japan with gigs lined up through this fall and beyond.
Ocean Eyes is capturing the hearts and ears of many. Loaded with amazing loops, catchy pick-ups, and lyrics that soothe the mind and touch the heart, Adam Young has once again created a lush listening experience. Owl City’s trademark desire to escape in dreams, oceans and sky abound on this, his first official CD, in songs such as “Cave In” and “Umbrella Beach.” Adam also continues to display a terrific wit uncommon in most electronic based music in such songs as the clap infused, bouncy “Dental Care” (a humorous metaphor on smiling) and “Fireflies.” Given the official compact disc treatment, previously released fan favorite “Hello Seattle” gives the great Northwest its’ due with an ode to highlands, parking lots, Puget Sound and albatross. With glorious vocal harmonies (“The Saltwater Room”) and touching odes to love lost (“Vanilla Twilight”) Adam has dug more deeply on Ocean Eyes lyrically and musically than ever before.

Owl City’s future is as exciting, expansive and mellifluous as its music. Adam’s main focus will be to continue playing out live and satisfying a fan base that is growing and always eagerly anticipating new material. “I’ve loved every minute of it so far, and I’m looking forward to what’s going to happen next.” So are we.

John Mayer biography

John Mayer
John Mayer
John Clayton Mayer was born October 16, 1977, in Fairfield, Connecticut, USA, and started playing guitar at 13 after being inspired by a Stevie Ray Vaughan tape his neighbor gave him. In 1998 he moved to Atlanta, Georgia where he refined his skills and gained a following.

In 2003, he won the Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance for the 2002 single “Your Body Is a Wonderland” from the album Room for Squares.

In February 2005, he was awarded the Song of the Year Grammy for his song Daughters, which he composed while in the shower, from the album Heavier Things. In winning the award, he beat out such contenders as Alicia Keys, and Kanye West. He dedicated this award to his grandmother, Annie Hoffman, who died in May 2004. He also won Best Male Pop Vocal Performance, for which Elvis Costello, Prince and Seal were also nominated. In 2007, John won 2 Grammys, one for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance, for the song “Waiting On The World To Change,” and also Best Pop Vocal Album for his album Continuum.

To date, Mayer has toured with many groups, including Maroon 5, Guster, Counting Crows, The Wallflowers, Teitur, Ben Folds, and Sheryl Crow.

In 2004, Mayer worked with hip hop artist and producer Kanye West, appearing both on Go and Kanye West’s Bittersweet (released in the summer of 2007 as an iTunes pre-order bonus track to the album Graduation) and received praise from rap heavyweights like Jay-Z and Nelly. When asked about his ubiquitous presence in the hip hop community, he said, “It’s not music out there right now. That’s why, to me, hip-hop is where rock used to be.”

It was around this time that he began hinting at a change in his musical interests, announcing that he was “closing up shop on acoustic sensitivity.” In 2005, he began a string of collaborations with various blues artists, including Buddy Guy, BB King, Eric Clapton and jazz artist John Scofield. He also toured with the legendary jazz pianist Herbie Hancock, which included a show at the Bonnaroo Music Festival in Manchester, Tennessee.

Although Mayer has maintained a reputation for being a sensitive singer-songwriter, he is also an accomplished guitarist influenced by the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Eric Clapton, Buddy Guy, Freddie King and B.B. King. In this regard, he has released an album with his band The John Mayer Trio Try!, which features a blues-rock style reminiscent of Jimi Hendrix.

In September 2006, Mayer released his third studio album, Continuum. The album, written and produced exclusively by Mayer (with the help of Steve Jordan from the John Mayer Trio) is a culmination of Mayer’s growth as an artist and continues with the blues-rock style that he began to flirt with on Try!.

Also notable is John Mayer’s various adaptations in style. He always maintained a blues tone, he introduced a rockier edge. However, in Continuum, he adopts a calmer genre, returning to his previous styles. Mayer released his fourth studio album entitled ‘Battle Studies’, on November 17, 2009.

2) John Jiddhu Mayer (b. Calcutta, Bengal, British India, October 28, 1930; d. United Kingdom, March 9, 2004) was an Indian composer known primarily for his fusions of jazz with Indian music. He was born into an Anglo-Indian family and, after studying with Phillipe Sandre in Calcutta and Melhi Mehta in Bombay, he won a scholarship to London’s Royal Academy of Music in 1952, where he studied comparative music and religion in eastern and western cultures.

He worked as a violinist with the London Philharmonic Orchestra (1953-58) and then with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (1958-65), but was also composing fusions of Hindustani classical and Western classical forms from 1952 onwards. His Violin Sonata was performed by Yehudi Menuhin in 1955.
In the 1960s he worked extensively with the Jamaican jazz musician Joe Harriott, with whom he formed the group Indo-Jazz Fusions, a ten-piece featuring a jazz quintet and five Indian musicians. The new incarnation of the band, called John Mayer’s Indo Jazz Fusions, was revived in the 1990s and continued to play live gigs — featuring Mayer’s son Jonathan Mayer on sitar — until John Mayer’s death.

From 1996 onwards, Mayer, though based in north London, worked part-time as composer-in-residence at the Birmingham Conservatoire where he introduced the BMus Indian music course in 1997.

Khalil biography

For some of us, destiny’s pull is too strong to resist. Take 15 year-old Khalil for example. Two years ago, Khalil was a star basketball player at his junior high school who was completely focused on perfecting his b-ball game until his Aunt overheard him singing one day around the house. She was so taken by her nephew’s natural ability that she encouraged him to upload a video of himself singing online so the rest of his family could marvel at his inherent ability.

Within weeks of posting a clip on youtube, Khalil received an email from record executive Kevin Wales, who set up an audition for Khalil with Island Def Jam President L.A. Reid. Khalil was signed almost immediately, proving that even though he may have been unaware of his innate power to perform, he was indeed born to sing.

“I never really wanted to be a singer so for me to audition for L.A. Reid was amazing!” says Khalil. “A lot of people at school were making fun of me at first like, ‘Ahhh, you sing?’ I was like, ‘Yeah, it’s crazy right?’”

Khalil was born 15 years ago in California’s Central Valley. When he was three months old, Khalil started living with his Aunt and Uncle in Antelope, a suburb just Northwest of Sacramento. He excelled in sports and when he was 11 and his family moved to North Carolina, Khalil was made captain of his school’s basketball team. Although he was a natural on the court, his basketball was quickly replaced by a microphone the day Kevin Wales discovered him singing Michael Jackson’s “She’s Out of My Life” online in October of 2008.

“I went to my Aunt and said, ‘Yo, this guy hit me up on youtube,’” says Khalil about the first time Worldwide Entertainment CEO Kevin Wales contacted him. “My aunt reached out to him- to see what he was all about. Soon after they started talking, I was on a plane heading to Atlanta. Kevin and I were going to have a meeting.”

Once in Atlanta, Wales encouraged the gifted young vocalist to record some songs in the studio. Over the next couple of months, Khalil started developing a love for singing while working with a group of producers and songwriters. “I thought about it a lot and was like, I like singing,” remembers Khalil. “Then I just fell in love with it when I started going into the studio.”

After recording songs, Kevin and his associate and well known industry A&R Kawan “KP” Prather (Usher, P!nk, T.I.) brought Khalil to meet L.A. Reid. “I flew up to New York and I walked into the Def Jam building and he had me waiting for like 10 minutes, which at the time felt like way longer,” says Khalil. “Finally they called me in and I said what’s up to L.A. and then he asked me to sing. The first song I sang was ‘Goody Goody’ by Frankie Lymon. I was 13 years-old and he was like, kids your age don’t even know about songs like that! He was impressed and said I have a great voice and tone.”

Khalil left the audition and returned to his hotel exhausted only to find a lawyer from Def Jam knocking on his door less than an hour later. “We negotiated the contract with Kevin Wales, his lawyer and the Def Jam lawyer in like an hour,” says Khalil. “I was signed to Def Jam probably three hours after I met with L.A.”

Once his record deal was secured, Khalil moved to Atlanta to begin working on his debut album. For the past year and a half he has attended a private school while putting the finishing touches on his first LP which features a mix of ballads and up-tempo songs. Khalil wants to follow in the footsteps of the beloved R&B artists he pulls inspiration from, such as Sam Cooke, Michael Jackson and Usher.

“I just want to make great music,” says Khalil. “The state of music now is not as good as it was back when the Stevie Wonders and the Donny Hathaways were out. I want to bring back great records and the fact that people can still make them. I feel like artists used to tell a story when they made music. Now, I feel like the story isn’t ever completed.”

When it comes to creating his own narrative, Khalil has had the opportunity to collaborate with a brilliant team of songwriters including Grammy Award winning writer Sean Garrett who wrote the up-tempo “Girlfriend”, about wanting to have a girlfriend and fall in love.

With featured performances from Young Money’s Lil’ Twist, Khalil’s Worldwide Entertainment/Def Jam debut album promises to have a little something for everyone, both young and old. “I never want to make bubble gum pop records that only kids can relate to,” says Khalil. “I feel like if I just keep making great, timeless records, I will have a lot of longevity.” There’s no fighting fate.

Aaron Fresh biography

Aaron Fresh
Aaron Fresh
Raised between America and the island of Trinidad and Tobago, Aaron Fresh is a breath-taking combination of West Indian and American culture. Beginning his love affair with song at an early age, 17-year-old Aaron knew that he wanted to sing by the time he reached seven years old.

“I started entering talent shows in middle school and I tried out for agencies,” remembers Aaron. “Any opportunity where I could showcase my talent, I was there.”

Born in Chicago, Aaron is the youngest of two brothers. His family lived in several different cities around the United States until his mother sent Aaron to live with his grandmother in Port-Au-Spain, Trinidad at eight years old.

“I love Trinidad, my favorite thing about this island is TK,” says Aaron.

In Port-Au-Spain, Aaron gained a sincere appreciation for reggae, dub and calypso music. Drawing inspiration from homegrown West Indian acts like Buju Banton and Sizzla, Aaron made sure that with his love of music, he still remembered to enjoy his childhood. He became quite the practical joker and routinely tricked his friends into silly things for fun.

“My friend Keyshawn and I always do practical jokes and once I decided to do a coin trick where you put a coin on your forehead and count the times you can hit your forehead on a table before it falls off,” recalls Aaron. “So I put a coin on my forehead and did it six times. Then I said to Keyshawn, ‘Bet you can’t beat it!’ and I pressed the coin to his head really hard but kept the coin in my hand without him knowing. He reached 161 times before he realized that the coin wasn’t there! Good times!”

After graduating from Holy Names Prep School and attending Holy Cross College briefly, Aaron returned to the States to live with his mother in Southern California. Then one day after school, as Aaron and his friend were rehearsing for their high school talent show and the young man’s voice caught the ear of producer, Reo Mitchell.

“We were rehearsing at my friend’s house and Reo was walking to his car and he overheard me singing,” says Aaron. “That was enough to catch his attention so he knocked on the door and soon after introduced me to Nick Cannon who immediately said, ‘Let’s get it started!'”

Just like that Aaron’s performance dreams were realized and he quickly signed to Cannon’s NCredible Entertainment. Now the teen splits his time between school and recording his debut album TK. On one of his first songs, “Spending All My Time,” Aaron sings about his love and says he “needs a few more seconds in my day” to cherish his special lady. On another track entitled “Dirty Girl,” Aaron deftly meshes his West Indian roots with a pop-edged beat as he sings over the reggae-inspired track that’s sure to get the party moving.

Growing up watching acts like Usher and Michael Jackson, Aaron knows that his cross-culture of Caribbean and North American heritage makes him one of a kind and he’s ready to earn his place in the spotlight.

“No one has done a Caribbean dub voice mixed with American R&B,” says Aaron. “My music really portrays me as a person because I’m American but have a Caribbean background. I have no musical preference, I like everything as long as you can feel the vibe through your soul.”

In addition to working with the producers behind The Pussycat Dolls and The Backstreet Boys, the teenager also wields the pen.

“I do co-write some songs,” says Aaron. “When I feel a beat or certain instruments and it sounds like I could be comfortable, I’m rocking.”

As for working alongside actor-producer-artist-label head Nick Cannon? Aaron says he’s just trying to keep up.

“He’s totally involved in everything I do,” says Aaron. “It’s definitely exciting and an honor to be next to him. I admire the guy, and he treats me like a little brother so that’s a good feeling.”