Session Diary 2 – Not Now Jhon Rehearsal

 

Here is the second session Diary video from a recent rehearsal I had with Not Now Jhon, a Pink Floyd Tribute band I am keys player for.

I hope you enjoy the video, especially the part where I’m desperately trying to get my IEM’s back into my ears mid song after forgetting they were there!

Gear:
Yamaha DGX-650 (keyboard 1)
Yamaha PSR 2100 (Keyboard 2)
Apple Macbook (Running patches)
Apple Mainstage 2 (Patch software)
Moxpad X6’s (IEM’s)
Alesis Multimix 4 channel mixer (Monitor amp)

Social media and websites:

garycunninghammusic.com (website)

Facebook.com/garycunninghammusic
Twitter.com/garyrcunningham
Instagram.com/garyrcunningham
Snapchat: Musickid754

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Is there any future for One Direction after hiatus?

One Direction, you either love them or hate them. Either way  there isn’t a person that doesn’t know they’re name. After they’re formation on ITV’s “The X Factor” in 2011, they quickly became one of the hottest bands ever, with fans around the world.

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The start of everything – One Direction in their X Factor days. Credit: betting.betfair.com

As the years went on, the boys went through various chart successes, with all of their records but one (Made In The A.M.) reaching number one. The future of these lads has been hanging in the balance for quite some time. The uncertainty began after the departure of Zayn Malik, who has gone on to forge his own solo career. After this, the boys used “Made In The A.M.” as a farewell record.

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Five become four, One Direction without Zayn Malik. Credit: celebmix.com

This was due to the group of five turned four decided it was time for them to go on a 12 month hiatus from the spotlight. This announcement shocked their fans beyond belief, reducing their most loyal followers to tears, this was understandable, sort of. The boys’ manager, Simon Cowell has said that it is “their decision as to wether this is a hiatus or a break up”. He is just as in the dark about the future of the group as everybody else.

Despite the boys bringing their joint venture to a halt, each member is still gaining individual recognition, some in football, some in film roles and some even taking the same approach as former bandmate Zayn and forming their own solo careers.

Although the group have said that the split is only for a 12 month period, assuring fans in the past that they will be back, there have been many people wondering (including myself) if there is anything for the once critically acclaimed One Direction to come back to.

With the rise of “5 Seconds of Summer”, the group that One Direction championed for so long (the irony), it doesn’t seem to me that there is a gap in the market for another boyband. 5 S.O.S have swooped in to save the day and fill the huge void in the industry that 1D left behind.

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“The new One Direction” up and comers “5 Seconds of Summer” Credit: ticketmaster.com

In my mind, you only need one huge boy band to fill that market gap in the industry, and the Summer boys have done just that. One Direction, are old news, they had a great run don’t get me wrong, but there is simply no need for them anymore. Sure, the odd reunion gig will be great to appease fans, but their time as the top dogs in the boyband world are well and truly over. Was this a fault of their own? Was it fate? Who knows? I just think that their last release was their best material and the best way for them to go out, with a huge band and their heads held high.

 

Artist Spotlight: Maggie Rogers

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Maggie Rogers – Producer and writer of “Alaska”.  Credit: Thrdcoast.com

If you’re in touch with the latest music hypes, I know you would’ve heard this name at least once. Maggie Rogers is a music student, singer and producer from the states. She gained a lot of online attention over the last few weeks when she got the chance to take part in a Masterclass with singer and producer Pharell Williams. She showed him “Alaska” and he thought it was so good, he nearly cried.

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Producer Pharell Williams tearing up as Maggie shows him “Alaska”. Credit: digitalspy.com

Now, Maggie has released the fully mixed and mastered version onto the internet and oh my goodness, listening to the song at home, through my speakers, I can officially tell you that it is a complete and utter stroke of genius. The way this young girl does things is a breath of fresh air, she’s combined the wonderful sounds of good old musical instruments and the abilities of music technology together, gelled them together with her encapturing vocals and “Alaska” is the final product.

It’s nothing I’ve ever heard before, and I predict that this song is going to push music into a better direction, the use of instruments and technology is becoming ever more present in today’s music, with this young girl’s latest release, there’s no doubt it will become a permanent feature.

The track has only been on the internet as a download for four days, it’s already in the Itunes top 100 and gaining crazy attention and love from music critics around the globe. This girls talent honestly makes me want to throw in the towel when it comes to my own career, but I’m not jealous or envious of her success, I’m overjoyed with the fact that there is someone in my age group (with actual talent) gaining chart stardom.

You can listen to Maggie’s track “Alaska” here:

Track Review: BLAB – Johnny

Track Review: BLAB – Johnny

BLAB, an interesting name right? What is it? It is one person, 17 year old Frances Murray. Frances, under the BLAB alter-ego, creates rough but great sounding indie rock from her bedroom. All instruments are played by her, apart from drums which is programmed in, the joys of technology eh?

BLAB’s first release “Johnny” caught my attention immediately, not only is the song insanely catchy, it is something out of the ordinary, something you hardly ever hear in today’s mainstream music media and certainly not something I’d expect a 17 year old in today’s world to produce.

The track is so raw and completely off the cuff, there hasn’t been much mixing or mastering done to it from what I can hear, and to some, that has been a huge negative. However, for me, the imperfections are what gives the track it’s charm. You can hear many punk/ indie influences in not only the music but also the lyrics, it’s refreshing to hear something different from a musician of my age group.

BLAB has already been given kudos by well known blog “Little Indie Blog” and rightly so too. I don’t think it will be long before BLAB is a name to be reckoned with in the local and possibly national music scene,I have high hopes for this project and can certainly see it going far if Frances keeps up her hard work!

You can listen to “Johnny” here:

connect with BLAB online

Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/BLABSOUNDSS/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/BLABSOUNDS

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/blabsounds/

Is the Music industry sexist? – I tear apart Laura Mvula’s claims

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Singer/songwriter – Laura Mvula. Credit: wmc.org.uk
I am asking this question because I recently saw some comments made by singer/songwriter Laura Mvula. She has claimed that the music industry is sexist in a recent interview, this can be read here. I have read through the article and picked out some key comments that Laura made, and I have developed an opinion on each of those comments.

The first comment that struck me was “Laura Mvula has labelled the music industry “sexist” because of the lack of female headliners at festivals.” Okay, this statement is slightly true, there are more male headliners at big festivals than there are female and I do admit that this is unfair. For example, there has only been one female headliner confirmed at this years Glastonbury Festival, this being Adele, whereas there has been two male headline acts announced already.

However, there are still many female performers, it’s not as though the Glastonbury organisers have made this a male only event, not to mention that you don’t really need to headline Glastonbury to prove that you’re a huge star, especially if you already have millions of loyal fans. Florence Welch (of Florence + The Machine) stepped in to headline last years festival after Foo Fighters pulled out at the last minute, if the industry truly was “sexist” surely, they’d’ve chosen another male act to take Foo Fighters place? it’s not as though there isn’t plenty to choose from.

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Florence Welch headlining Glastonbury 2015. Credit: telegraph.co.uk
Another thing Mvula used to back up her sexism argument was the “amount of men that work behind the scenes in the music business”. I can pull this argument apart straight away, simply by dropping a link to an article I found on Billboard with not 20, not 30 but FIFTY women who are high up in the music industry, from agents, to managers, to producers, they were all women. To this end, I fail to understand how Laura’s statement about lack of women behind the scenes holds any weight. (The article can be found HERE)

From personal experience, I work with more female artists than I do male these days, I am in 1 all male band which is a Pink Floyd tribute, all of the other singers I work with are female, and they are doing very well for themselves, so again, how is Laura’s argument even getting any attention or agreement?

To further my counter argument, the latest winner of X Factor was female (Louisa Johnson) obviously, X Factor is not deemed a “serious” contest, but it still has millions of viewers every year and Louisa did end up performing at Capital’s SummerTime Ball, twice. The head producer of the show, is male. It’s not really that sexist is it? If it were, Louisa wouldn’t’ve won and before we get people saying that it’s down to public vote, we all know the show is rigged, (not taking any of Louisa’s glory away from her of course) but if Simon Cowell was sexist or the industry was sexist at all, a male winner would’ve been chosen, regardless of “public vote”.

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Capital FM Summertime Ball at Wembley Stadium – Arrivals Featuring: Louisa Johnson Where: London, United Kingdom When: 11 Jun 2016 Credit: WENN.com
Mvula also claimed that she felt “isolated and misunderstood” due to the apparent lack of females. How? In my opinion, your gender really doesn’t matter, all musicians, producers, agents, managers, label heads are in the same boat, doing the same job, regardless of gender. I don’t see what’s to be misunderstand.

Personally I believe that Laura Mvula is blowing the whole situation out of proportion. If the music industry really was sexist, anti-women or whatever she wants to call it, then the likes of Adele and Taylor Swift and Florence Welch wouldn’t even be signed, let alone have their songs be number one in charts around the world.

Let me be clear, I am not saying for one second that there wasn’t a time in which female recording artists were oppressed and abused. The scandal between Kesha, Sony and Dr Luke is a prime example of this happening and trust me, I found the whole situation and the way Sony acted as a label, disgusting. However, this wasn’t a case of sexim, it was an act of sexual abuse upon an innocent young woman that was brushed under the carpet by a label of people whose job it was to protect their artist.  For those of you that don’t know what happened in this incident, you can read a detailed timeline of events HERE and you can read my article on the incident HERE

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Kesha was abused and held under contract by her producer Dr Luke and her label Sony Music. Credit: businessinsider.com
To wrap this up, I really do think Laura should think about how she words things. The fact that I could rip apart her argument with some research and a presentation of facts and sources shows how little weight her argument holds. I did end my argument on a statement sort of supporting what she was saying, but as I said, what happened between Kesha and the opposing parties was not sexism, it was abuse. There is a very stark difference between the two.

I understand why Mvula said what she said, she was just trying to stick up for her gender. Maybe next time she should bring forward a far more watertight argument, so it doesn’t get torn apart by an 18 year old music blogger from Essex.

 

 

 

My thoughts on the death of Christina Grimmie

imgres-1Christina Grimmie was a young singer and musician from America. Coming to prominence under
her Youtube name “Zeldaxlove64” she posted covers of popular songs that were championed by Youtube users across the globe.

Her first major break was around 2011 when she had the opportunity to tour with singer and former Disney star, Selena Gomez. She posted various videos documenting her time on the road with Selena and gained many more fans in doing the shows.

Through her hard work and kind nature, Christina became an idol for many, including myself. I remember being a young musician myself, spending hours watching Christina’s covers, listening to her stories from her tours and thinking “I’d love to do that”. She inspired so many people and touched so many hearts it was astonishing.

Grimmie went on to compete in the NBC talent show “The Voice” in which she came third, under the mentorship of Maroon 5 star, Adam Levine. She also released one album and one EP “Find Me” (2011) and “Side A” (2016).

Christina was tragically shot and died of her injuries earlier this week whilst signed autographs after a show in Orlando. Her tragic death came as a shock to her friends, family and fellow musicians. I am truly disgusted by this incident and I hope that Christina’s family can find some form of small comfort in this awful time.

Why someone would feel the need to end the life of someone so innocent, talented and kind hearted, I will never know, but I know that Christina’s legacy will live on for years to come and her music will continue to touch the lives of those that listen to it.

R.I.P Christina, Sleep tight, I’m so sorry.