Monthly Archives: June 2011

Track by Track Video Exploration of Terra Naomi’s New Album “To Know I’m OK”

June 20, 2011

Terra Naomi To Know I'm OK (Photo by Ben Watts)

If you’re a “regular” here at Rock Is A Girl’s Best Friend, or if you follow me on Twitter, then you know I prefer to do things unconventionally. Terra Naomi‘s new album, To Know I’m OK, came about unconventionally as well.

When I met Terra more than a year ago, she had a very clear vision of how she wanted this album to sound, even before all the songs were written.  She knew she wanted John Alagia (Rachel Yamagata, Brett Dennen, Ben Folds Five, David Gray, Liz Phair, Jason Mraz) to produce the album.  She was free from a major-label deal so she could do things differently, not beholden to anyone but herself.  At the same time, she was also keenly aware that she no longer had the major-label resources to record and release her second album, and if she forgot about that for a moment, somebody was there telling her it couldn’t be done.

Photo by Ben Watts

Determined to make her vision a reality, Terra ignored the naysayers and set forth on a path to record and release To Know I’m OK, without compromise.  Terra  raised the recording budget via a direct to fan engagement campaign with PledgeMusic and then approached John Alagia to produce the album.  Upon hearing the music and Terra’s plans for releasing the album, Alagia agreed.  The result? “This is the album I’ve always wanted to make,” Terra says.

Terra is also going about releasing the album independently, partnering with technology companies and passionate audience communities.  As she did with PledgeMusic, Terra continues to go directly to fans, reaching them in unique ways, and including them in the process. Terra partnered with Hipstamatic, engaging their passionate community and incorporating user-submitted Hipstamatic photos as the centerpiece of her video for “You For Me”.  She’s working with Klout, providing unique offerings to their influencers, as well as partnering with music and lifestyle bloggers.

Photo by Ben Watts

To Know I’m OK will be available tomorrow, Tuesday June 21st, and I wanted to do something special in honor of its release. I considered interviewing Terra about the songs and the recording process. I thought it might be fun to drink with Terra. Actually, I knew that was fun, having done it previously. Other ideas that crossed my mind were: going behind the scenes with Terra and producer John Alagia during the recording process, posting random outtakes from the studio, sharing footage nobody knew I was recording, and posting full streams of some of the songs on the album. I even considered showing the recording process through the eyes of Terra’s dog, Elliott Osito. I’m of the belief that we can have it all, so below, you will find everything mentioned above.

I hope you enjoy this track-by-track video exploration of Terra Naomi: To Know I’m OK.

It’s time for a listening party

1. You For Me
Michael Chaves, Sean Hurley, Brad Conrad, John Alagia, Victor Indrizzo lend a hand to Terra Naomi during the recording of “You For Me”

Terra’s dog, Elliott, lends his tail during the making of “You For Me”

Listen to “You For Me” (Full Stream)

2. If I Could Stay
Terra performs “If I Could Stay” at a private house party

3. Not Sorry
Terra discusses the re-recording of “Not Sorry”

Listen to the new version of “Not Sorry” from To Know I’m OK

4. Everybody Knows
Terra, John Alagia, Brad Conrad, Zac Rae, Victor Indrizzo, Sean Hurley, and Michael Chaves working out “Everybody Knows” in the studio

Recording “Everybody Knows”

Listen to “Everybody Knows” Album Version (Full Stream)

5. Someday Soon
Terra, producer John Alagia, Brad Conrad, Zac Rae, Michael Chaves, Victor Indrizzo, and Sean Hurley listening to their initial recordings of “Someday Soon”

6. I’ll Be Waiting
Terra discusses the meaning of “I’ll Be Waiting” during our “interview” at Malibu Wines

Recording “I’ll Be Waiting”

Listen to “I’ll Be Waiting” (Full Stream)
I’ll Be Waiting:

7. Take Time
Terra does a special performance of “Take Time” for Rock Is A Girl’s Best Friend:

Inspired by a man who dumped her:

Listen to “Take Time” (Full Stream)
Take Time:

8. To Know I’m OK

Listen to the title track from Terra’s new album, “To Know I’m OK” (full stream)
To Know I’m Ok:

Terra’s dog, Elliott Osito, gives his notes on the album

Finally, after a long day in the studio, John Alagia and Michael Chaves had these parting words for Terra:

Terra Naomi: To Know I’m OK
Available at iTunes and Amazon beginning June 21, 2011
itunes.com/terranaomi
terranaomi.com

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The Civil Wars at El Rey Theatre: The Experience of Music

June 15, 2010
El Rey Theatre, Los Angeles

The Civil Wars (Photo courtesy of Tec Petaja)

If you read my review of The Civil Wars performance at Largo earlier this week, you won’t be surprised that I was compelled to see The Civil Wars play again less than 48 hours later.

Joy Williams and John Paul White (aka The Civil Wars) played another brilliant show at The El Rey Wednesday.  They played songs off their acclaimed album Barton Hollow, along with a few covers, interspersed with bouts of comedy that emerge naturally from their dynamic interplay on stage.

When people talk about the rise of certain musicians and what it took for them to “make it”, they may mention a record label with a dialed-in team of people and resources supporting the band, radio, placement of a song in a popular TV ad, timing, or “luck”.   Timing could be a factor- Williams and White met just over two and a half years ago.  As “luck” would have it, although neither of them wanted to attend the songwriting gathering in Nashville where they met, they both showed up.  The result of that songwriting session was the song “Falling” and the formation of The Civil Wars.

The Civil Wars have sold more than 100,000 copies of Barton Hollow in four months, without a major label.  They played 3 sold-out shows in Los Angeles, in one week.   A friend recently asked me “how are they doing it? Without a label? Without major marketing dollars?”

The refreshing answer to that question is: the music.  Barton Hollow is an exceptional album, and seeing The Civil Wars perform live is undeniable evidence that this is real. It’s good. It’s got soul.  The Civil Wars are “making it” because their live shows and their music is truly phenomenal.  They don’t have nor need flashy lights and costumes.  Selfishly, I hope they never tour with a band.  The Civil Wars instruments are simply: the perfect blend of their voices, White’s guitar, and on occasion, William’s piano.  That is all that’s needed.

White and Williams engage playfully with each other and with the crowd during shows.  They’re genuinely gracious.  ”You guys are HERE.  And you bought tickets.  And you stood in line.  We don’t take that for granted,” Williams said upon looking out at the crowd of their sold-out El Rey show.  The one thing I say to every musician I meet is “You should go to as many venues as possible ‘as a fan’. You should buy tickets and pay the often-exorbitant service fees, stand in line, have your chewing gum taken away, pay money for drinks and parking — truly understand what the audience goes through to BE at your show, so you know how much you have to overcome to blow them away.”  Whether or not they’ve actually done this exercise themselves, this is something Williams and White clearly understand.  In fact, their entire show feels like a “thank you” to the audience.

I’m posting some video so you can get a sense of the show (or re-live it if you were there).  That said, there is NO substitute for seeing The Civil Wars live.  Videos can’t do it justice.  You can’t hear the silence nor witness the attentiveness of the crowd at what is often a noisy venue.  You can’t see the looks on the faces of the audience or feel the dynamic exchange between White and Williams, The Civil Wars and the fans, as pure as it is, in a video.   This is just to give you an idea, but to truly get it, you need to see The Civil Wars live…

Williams and White joke about replacing each other during the intro to “I’ve Got This Friend”:

Barton Hollow:

 

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Take Time With Terra Naomi: Exclusive Interview and Download

June 15, 2011 

Terra Naomi: To Know I'm OK (photo by: Ben Watts)

I remember the first meeting I had at one of the major labels, when I initially started working in music.  We gathered to meet about one of their “priority artists,” but they had just signed another “priority artist,” so they were no longer focused on who we were there to originally discuss. Furthermore, the first 7 minutes of the meeting was spent listening to the record label executives talk about how much none of them wanted to  go to one of their artist showcases later that night.  I remember walking out of that meeting, more than a decade ago, thinking (and knowing me, probably saying out loud), “musicians are fucked if the people in charge of the music business don’t even like music.”

Welcome to 2011.  Musicians aren’t “fucked” as it turns out.  Musicians have more opportunity than ever before to get their music heard, reach more people, and do things differently and more creatively.  It’s up to us, the fans, to seek out the music we love and to take time with Artists we enjoy.

Terra Naomi at Malibu Wines

I recently spent an afternoon with Terra Naomi, drinking wine at Malibu Wines and talking about her forthcoming album, To Know I’m OK. Terra, who is no longer on a major label, has spent the past year creatively working to release her latest album, To Know I’m OK, independently.

She launched a campaign at PledgeMusic, bringing the fans who contributed to making the album behind the scenes, throughout the process.  She ignored everyone who said getting a top producer like John Alagia would not be possible, asked John Alagia to produce To Know I’m Ok, and he agreed.  She partnered with the creators of Hipstamatic (Apple’s “App of The Year”), and will be using photos submitted by the Hipstamatic community in the upcoming music video for her song, “You For Me.” She’s working with TuneCore, YouTube, Klout, music and lifestyle bloggers, and other fun partners, on the release of this album.

On Monday, June 20, I will post an exclusive track-by-track video exploration of  Terra’s new album, To Know I’m OK, so that you can get to know Terra and her music before the album comes out on June 21st.  In the meantime, I’d like to introduce you to Terra Naomi and one of my favorite songs from To Know I’m OK, “Take Time”.  Enjoy!

Terra Naomi talks to Rock Is A Girl’s Best Friend about “Take Time”:

FREE DOWNLOAD of “Take Time” (Live at Yoshi’s):

Live performance of “Take Time” at LA Music Blog (thank you LA Music Blog!):

Studio version of “Take Time” (full stream):

What really happens when you do an interview at a winery:

Track by track video exploration of To Know I’m OK to be posted on Rock Is A Girl’s Best Friend Monday, June 20th. For more info about Terra Naomi:

http://www.terranaomi.com/
http://www.itunes.com/terranaomi
http://www.youtube.com/terranaomi

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The Civil Wars at Largo: The Best Sex I’ve Had All Year

June 13, 2011
Largo, Los Angeles

The Civil Wars (photo courtesy of Tec Petaja)

Sometimes seeing a live show is like having amazing sex – when it’s so good you start to worry, “what if it’s never this good again??”  During The Civil Wars show at Largo last night I was overwhelmed with immense joy and a bit of fear that the next shows I’m lined up to see may disappoint in comparison.  The Civil Wars’ show at Largo last night was the best sex I’ve had all year.

Joy Williams and John Paul “JP” White are The Civil Wars. I could not have had higher expectations for them to exceed and they exceeded them.  JP plays guitar. From time to time Joy plays piano.  Their voices are exquisite.  Their songwriting is beautiful. They’re playful. They’re funny.  They surprise each other and they’ll surprise you.

Williams and White met approximately 3 years ago “at a random song-writing gathering” that neither of them wanted to attend. Prior to becoming The Civil Wars, both Williams and White had solo careers and worked extensively writing songs for other artists.  Following their initial meeting and writing session, they joined forces as The Civil Wars and have sold more than 100,000 copies of their debut album, Barton Hollow, in 4 months, without a major label.

When you hear The Civil Wars’ songs and see them together, a sense of peace and extreme happiness wash over you – you are reminded that everything is as it should be.  You remember that sometimes, when we let go of an idea we held onto so steadfastly, we’re liberated to experience something even better than we could have imagined. You stop worrying about time and pre-conceived notions of how things “should” be.  The Civil Wars are a sublime reflection that there’s nothing to worry about.  When you see Williams and White perform together, you know it had to be this way.  You begin to feel more faith and comfort, realizing that everything you envision for yourself will come in time as well.

I was fortunate to see The Civil Wars perform at Largo, one of my favorite venues in Los Angeles.  Largo has a strictly enforced “no talking, no texting, no photographing, no cell phone” policy that leaves the audience no choice but to get lost in the music. The sound in the theatre is amazing and the elegant stage the perfect setting for this show.

When The Civil Wars left the stage, the audience gave them the most heartfelt and unified standing ovation I’ve experienced in a long time.  Knowing that The Civil Wars were coming back for an encore didn’t mean the crowd sat down and waited.  We were on our feet, applauding, until Williams and White returned, reminded that even if something is a “given,” it’s not to be taken for granted.

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Win Tickets to See Youssou N’Dour and Angelique Kidjo at The Greek

June 10, 2011

Two lucky Rock Is A Girl’s Best Friend readers will each win a pair of tickets to see Youssou N’Dour, Angelique Kidjo, Vusi Mahlasela at The Greek Theatre on June 16, 2011.  Here’s what you need to know to enter:

  • The contest begins now and ends at 11:59 EST June 14, 2011
  • TO ENTER:  Visit Rock Is A Girl’s Best Friend on Facebook
  • You will see there are several ways you can enter and you can get additional entries for each thing you choose to do.  You can follow us, tweet about us, like us on Facebook, and more.  ENTER NOW
  • Winners (2) will be selected by random.org and notified via email on June 15, 2011.  Winners will have 12 hours to respond before a new winner is selected
  • Your tickets will be available for pick up at Will Call at The Greek Theatre on the evening of the show.  Please bring photo ID.
  • Transportation and accommodations not included

About Youssou N’Dour / Angelique Kidjo / Vusi Mahlasela:

Youssou N'Dour (photo by: Youri Lenquette)

Youssou N’Dour, Angelique Kidjo and Vusi Mahlasela will play The Greek Theatre in Los Angeles for the first time on June 16 as part of the venue’s 80th Anniversary season.

Known for shaping Senegalese music, Youssou N’Dour is a singer endowed with remarkable range and poise. N’Dour is also a composer, bandleader and producer, who has a prodigious musical intelligence. The New York Times has described his voice as “an arresting tenor, deployed with prophetic authority,” and as a voice that “soars heavenward with passion and then wafts tenderly toward earth.” As a craftsman of an inimitable brand of ensemble music, N’Dour absorbs the entire diversity of the Senegalese musical spectrum in his work, often filtering his country’s musical heritage through a modernist lens of genre-defying rock or pop music from outside Senegalese culture.

Angelique Kidjo has been deemed “Africa’s premier diva” by Time Magazine, and the moniker speaks accurately to the singular career and life she has forged: Like Miriam Makeba was before her, Kidjo is the continent’s most internationally celebrated female musical exponent. And yet, the Grammy-winning artist has lived outside Africa for more than two decades. She currently resides in New York City, where she is an exceptionally active member of the music scene and reaches people around the world with her recordings, tours and philanthropic work.

Vusi Mahlasela, is simply known as ‘The Voice’ in his home-country, South Africa, celebrated for his distinct, powerful voice and his poetic, optimistic lyrics. His songs of hope connect Apartheid-scarred South Africa with its promise for a better future. Raised in the Mamelodi Township, where he still resides, Vusi became a singer-songwriter and poet-activist at an early age teaching himself how to play guitar and later joining the Congress of South African Writers. After his popular debut on BMG Africa, When You Come Back, Vusi was asked to perform at Mandela’s inauguration in 1994 and continues to spread Mandela’s message as an official ambassador to Mandela’s HIV/AIDS initiative, 46664.

About The Greek Theatre:

Greek Theatre Los Angeles

For “official” information about The Greek Theatre, you can check out their website, but here’s my take:  The Greek Theatre is one of my all-time favorite music venues. Start to finish, The Greek Theatre is an EXPERIENCE!  You can get there early, picnic, and drink wine. If you don’t mind a walk, you can park on Vermont and enjoy the walk to and from the venue.  If you’re reading Rock Is A Girl’s Best Friend, chances are you’re not the type  to leave the show early, so you can take the easy route and commit to the stacked parking option.   The venue is beautiful, outdoors, surrounded by trees.  The sound is impeccable.  I’ve seen some of my favorite shows at The Greek and I’m very excited to share these opportunities with you.

What Now?

Well, if you haven’t already done so, ENTER TO WIN TICKETS NOW.

For more info about this show or Greek Theatre, click here.

To buy tickets to this or any other show at The Greek Theatre, click here.

If you have questions or comments, please leave them for me below.

Thank you!

Colette

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Win Tickets to See Dispatch at The Greek Theatre on Sun June 12th!

June 6, 2011

I’m excited to kick off a series of ticket giveaways and other fun Rock Is A Girl’s Best Friend promotions with one of my favorite venues, The Greek Theatre in Los Angeles.

FIVE lucky Rock Is A Girl’s Best Friend readers will each win a pair of tickets to see Dispatch, plus special guest Stephen Marley on June 12, 2011.  Here’s what you need to know to enter:

  • The contest begins now and ends at 11:59 EST June 9, 2011
  • TO ENTER:  Visit Rock Is A Girl’s Best Friend on Facebook
  • You will see there are several ways you can enter and you can get additional entries for each thing you choose to do.  You can follow us, tweet about us, like us on Facebook, and more.  ENTER NOW
  • Winners (5) will be selected by random.org and notified via email on June 10, 2011.  Winners will have 12 hours to respond before a new winner is selected
  • Your tickets will be available for pick up at Will Call at The Greek Theatre on the evening of the show
  • Transportation and accommodations not included

About Dispatch:

Dispatch

Forget trying to slap a label on Dispatch. You’re welcome to give it a shot, plenty of people have, calling them at times a heartfelt acoustic trio, a wailing rock band, a devil-may-care funk act, but the band defies epithets at every turn. When they hear a description of their music, they just grab the closest instrument and switch things up in an effort to keep the stereotype-slingers at bay. It’s nothing personal, it’s just that they find inventiveness more interesting than playing it safe and churning out the kind of neat little ditties that people listen to for a week and then forget.

Social responsibility has always been a major component of the Dispatch culture and this summer’s tour is no exception. This summer the band will roll out their Amplifying Education campaign, which will focus on educational issues here in the United States. Not only will fifty cents from each ticket sold go to benefit education in each local market, but the band is planning additional
programs to spotlight education in every market they visit. Known as a band that attained superstar live status completely on their own terms, the members of Dispatch – Brad Corrigan, Pete Heimbold and Chad Stokes – released album after album on their own Bomber Records label, steering clear of the major label system and selling more than 600,000 albums. In the process the trio
became true indie pioneers, building an enormous, passionate base of fans through the embrace of internet file sharing, word-ofmouth
and constant touring.

About The Greek Theatre:

Greek Theatre Los Angeles

For “official” information about The Greek Theatre, you can check out their website, but here’s my take:  The Greek Theatre is one of my all-time favorite music venues. Start to finish, The Greek Theatre is an EXPERIENCE!  You can get there early, picnic, and drink wine. If you don’t mind a walk, you can park on Vermont and enjoy the walk to and from the venue.  If you’re reading Rock Is A Girl’s Best Friend, chances are you’re not the type  to leave the show early, so you can take the easy route and commit to the stacked parking option.   The venue is beautiful, outdoors, surrounded by trees.  The sound is impeccable.  I’ve seen some of my favorite shows at The Greek and I’m very excited to share these opportunities with you.

What Now?

Well, if you haven’t already done so, ENTER TO WIN TICKETS NOW.

For more info about this show or Greek Theatre, click here.

To buy tickets to this or any other show at The Greek Theatre, click here.

If you have questions or comments, please leave them for me below.

Thank you!

Colette

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