The WU- Once upon a time in Shaolin

In terms of legendary groups in Hip Hop goes, The Wu-Tang Clan isn’t far from the best and most talented rap acts of all time. Since the early 90’s, they have put out 5 albums, and launched successful individual careers for many of the artists on their team. Now, in 2014, the Wu is changing the game with their new album… The Wu-Once upon a time in Shaolin.

 

Wu tang clan

 

 

Pictured above is the one and only copy of the album created. Only one copy will be sold and along with the albums all the rights to license and distribute the album. People will have the opportunity to pay between $30 & $50 to listen to the album after going through an extensive security process to ensure they can not record even a snippet of the album.

 

We have seen very interesting ways in the past few months of artists releasing albums (Beyonce, Kid Cudi, Nipsey Hussle, etc.). This idea right here is definitely one for the books. Considering the longevity and fan base of the Wu-Tang Clan, the album is likely to sell for a multi-million dollar figure.

 

Any predictions? I’m thinking the 1-2 million dollar range. We shall see…

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Grand Appreciation vol 2: Announcing Disrupción Records

As of Wednesday, March 26 Berklee Valencia has officially launched its own student run record label, Disrupción Records!

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After a very difficult audition process Disrupción Records has chosen four artists to represent the label; Tess Tyler, Avila Santos, Stephen McHale, and Miranda Inunza.

Tess Tyler is a singer/songwriter from the UK.  Her style is a combination of soothing singer/songwriter music with an electronica twist.  With her serene vocals and you are taken to a beautiful place you never imagined.  At least that’s how I felt when I listened to ‘Feathered Friend’.

Avila Santo is a composer/producer from Venice, California.  His music will soothe you and take you into a trance as he paints over the audible canvas that is your ear.  Kick off your shoes, put your feet up, grab a glass of wine, and just relax to the sounds of Avila…

Keep an eye out for these talented artists!  New music to come this Summer!

Grand Appreciation vol 1: Mountain Brothers

The Mountain Brothers are a Hip Hop trio from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The group consisted of Styles, Peril-L, and Chops.  I first discovered their music in ’99 when I was searching the internet for Asians in Hip Hop.  Low and behold I came across the video for “Galaxies: The Next Level”.

I found comfort in knowing that there was quality Hip Hop in the world that came from my people.  The music was produced by one of their own members, Chops.  Best of all, there were no samples.  It was all originally produced music.  On top of that, it was QUALITY music. Combine that with creative lyricists each possessing their own unique styles and you had a powerhouse that the industry wasn’t sure what to do with when signed to a major label.  How would you market these talented young men in a market that were predominantly African American?  It couldn’t.  The accomplishments were captured in two albums and for those that were searching for it such as myself, we found it all on our own.

The Mountain Brothers released two albums, Self Volume 1 in 1999 and Triple Crown in 2003.  Both were albums that I purchased from my local record store, Stacks  the Vinyl Authority, which was owned by DJ Icy Ice of the World Famous Beat Junkies.  The Mountain Brothers were pioneers for the Asian Hip Hop community and served as inspiration to a long list of current up and coming Asian American rappers.

Fast forward to current day.  The MBs reunited to release a few songs on a project led by producer, Chops.  One song in particular featuring Korea’s own vocal songstress Ann One.

Chops recently had a successful fundraiser campaign called Strength In Numbers.  The purpose of this project was to create a community collaboration of 30+ talented Asian American and Asian artists to let it be known to the world that we’re here.  Asian folk can sing and rap and we could do it DAMN good too!

Listen here for the clean version of the Strength in Numbers project.

 

 

Elle Varner…”COLD CASE”

I’ve been rocking with R&B songstress Elle Varner since her first mixtape “Conversational Lush” and subsequently when she hit the scene with “Only Wanna Give It To You” from her debut album “Perfectly Imperfect,” which spawned her other mega hit “Refill.”

Elle

Elle is back on the scene with her new single “COLD CASE.” She sings about how beautiful love is at first until she has a feeling that her boyfriend is cheating on her..In the first verse she sings:

I got this case on my hands, that I can’t crack

But I been gathering all that I can

One of those things that I must understand, understand

Cuz you went and changed up on me, much too fast

Talk about lightening speed, lightening speed

But it ain’t no unsolvable mystery

I gotta get down to it
 

Check it out!!!

She describes the sound of her upcoming sophomore album entitled “LOVE” as “Trap Jazz”. If Trap Jazz sounds like this new banger that she cooked up, then obviously I’ve been missing out! The production by Pop & Oak on “COLD CASE” is insane! From the intro, to the change in the tempo, to the backbeat with the heavy bass, along with her hard hitting vocals..all make for a great combo! Her album has no release date yet, but I’ll be waiting for it!

This is most definitely a song for the ladies! I’m feeling Elle’s vibe this time around.  This song also has a sexier vibe and appears to explore a new sound for the songstress. What do you think..HOT or NOT??

 

Post-Fallas Hangover

The sculptures and firecrackers are gone, and our merry and highly pyrotechnic Fallas vacation has concluded, ushering in a new era dominated by a constant game of catch-up.  For this reason, we have managed to accomplish many goals within the A&R department, lately directing our focus onto recording.

As a team, we have reviewed Tess’s compositions, selecting the ideal tracks to be included in the compilation album, and finally deciding on the following four in particular:

  •       Feather Friend
  •       If I Wander the Night
  •       I bought you a Coat
  •       Growing Pains

In accordance with our objective, we have developed a tight schedule and adhered to it, immediately networking Tess and Tim, and establishing recording and post-production sessions.

This week alone, I have attended two studio sessions, one on Monday and another on Wednesday. Depicted below are the photographic accounts of the Wednesday session with our colleagues Tim and Carlitos contributing ideas and suggestions with respect to the songs’ structure and the production process.

Studio 1

Studio 2

THE RELEASE OF DISRUPCIÓN RECORDS

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After many weeks of speculation, finally the name of the record label developed by the students of the Master in Global Entertainment and Music Business of Berklee College Valencia, was revealed to all the students of the campus. The event took place at the lobby last Wednesday, March 26th.

 

By 1 pm all of the team involved with the release of the label was working to set up everything for the big moment. Alejandra and Cristina were bringing the food they could with a budget of €100. Tortilla de patata, snacks, crackers, juice and sodas were part of the food and drinks offered.

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Kareem connected all the equipment for the music. As DJ kTunes, he was in charge of playing his mixed music for the audience. Of course it wasn’t very loud because other students were in class. His music filled the environment with energy while many of the students were dancing and having a good time.

 

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Jeremy who worked on the Disrupción Brochure was ready to hand out the information about the label and its firsts projects. Other members of the team were working to put the logo on the flat screen at the lobby and so on.

Disrupcion Brochure

 

My role in the event was to set up the lights that would create the environment for the event and to bring the camera to take many pictures and video that would bring evidence of the happy moment we lived. After the event I also worked on the edition of the video and the photos.  Here is the video that can gives you a quick view of the launch.

Everybody was exited to know a little bit more about the project that the students of the record label practicum class have been cocking for the last 3 months.  At 1:30 pm Neda Shahram held the microphone and announced the official release of the record label: Disrupción Records was finally with us. At the same time on a screen appeared the logo that will identify the label.  The logo was designed by Tyler Budd inspired in the Palau de les Arts Structure, an important symbol for all of us at Berklee Valencia.

 

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The next steps are the production of the music material of the four projects that are part of this first experience of the label. This should take place during the next month. After everything get done, a big party is on the schedule were this music projects will be released to the world. Stay tuned for more to come.
 

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Facebook Launches Lab To Bring Internet Everywhere

Facebook Launches Lab To Bring Internet Everywhere

Facebook recently hired key members to their team coming from Ascenta. Ascenta is a U.K. company that founded one of the first longest-flying solar powered drones. Facebook’s plan is to bring internet everywhere in the world. Out of 7 billion people in the world, only 30% are actively online. Facebook has recently been on a spending spree since purchasing $2 billion deal to buy virtual reality startup Oculus. They are preparing for the world of tomorrow. Mark Zuckerberg’s main goal is not to connect everyone on Facebook, but to get people to have access to things like basic financial services, and access to health care information, and be updated on education and safety services. This was very eye opening to me to think that only 30% of the world is downloading, purchasing, and streaming music. It will be very interesting to see how the offline world will adapt to the new recent innovations in music services online in the near future!

http://www.billboard.com/biz/articles/news/digital-and-mobile/6028994/facebook-launches-lab-to-bring-internet-everywhere

Explosive launch of Disrupción Records!!

After a week long fantasy-styled celebrations of falls, it took some recovering time for everyone, especially me, to get back to the real life! As planned, we planned the reveal-launch event for Disrupción Records.

 

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Hosted by Neda with some fine dance music by kTunes, it was ‘to the point’ launch (good job tanya, jeremy, Ale!!). With some snacks, drinks and music, the event was an instant success and liked by all. Now, we are working towards the other big things as planned for the label and the artists. Next month for marketing team will be just about ‘venue recce-budget-approval-if ‘no’ approval-repeat the same with different venue’ !! Looking forward to it!!

Better Late Than Never…KIMBRA

Kimbra-Promo

One day last month, I was listening to music on one of my favorite streaming platforms, and I decided to check out some of the artist recommendations. To my surprise, I stumbled across a gem…an artist named Kimbra.

The RunDown:
Origin: New Zealand & Australia
Genre: Electropop
Label: Warner Bros.
Age: 23
Instruments: Vocals, tambourine, guitar
Website: kimbramusic.com

Kimbra Vows

I listened to her debut album, “Vows”.  It was released in 2011, so please forgive me for tardiness…but now that I’m hip to who she is, I’m anxiously awaiting the release of new material. In the past I had heard mentions here and there of Kimbra, but that was mainly from Gotye’s top-charting single “Somebody That I Use to Know,” but other than that, she was an artist that I didn’t know.  Recently in 2013, she was featured on John Legend’s track “Made To Love” which I absolutely think is amazing! Once again, I didn’t know it was her until after the fact.

The following singles were released from “Vows”:

  • Settle Down
  • Cameo Lover
  • Good Intent
  • Warrior
  • Two Way Street
  • Come Into My Head

This album garnered Kimbra numerous awards during 2011 and 2012 from the APRA Awards and ARIA Awards. She also won a Grammy during 2013 for her collaboration with Gotye.

Here’s her official vid for the album’s 1st single “Settle Down”

Check out one of my faves from the album, “Something In The Way You Are”…

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Twitter and its Movement Towards Music Integration

Twitter has been everywhere lately, from Lyor Cohen announcing its partnerships with the social media to its recent announcement with Billboard to deliver release real time music charts.  In other twitter related news (f you didn’t know already), the platform has recently announced its plan to reveal its new music strategy in the coming days.  After the demise of Twitter music Twitter has mead with an array of companies; Beats, Soundcloud, VEVO,etc all in the hopes a developing a strategy that successfully integrates music onto their platform. Clyde Smith over at Hypebot.com had some insider information on what this new music strategy might entail.

“The short-messaging service is preparing to roll out a fresh music strategy this week, according to a person familiar with the matter.”

“The company plans to shelve the idea of a stand-alone app all together, another person said, setting a new strategic course centered on music conversations and content on the Twitter service.”

“Twitter met with Beats Music in San Francisco this week, proposing a partnership that would promote subscriptions to the music-streaming service, according to a person familiar with the matter. It is also looking to partner with music-sharing site SoundCloud for the new strategy, this person said.”

“Vevo LLC…is working with Twitter to offer bite-sized music videos, according to people familiar with the matter.”

Clyde seems to think that Twitter is going to integrate some sort of of “targeted, curated or fore fronted” version of a music video.    We won’t know what this will all look like especially with the information about partnerships with Beats and Soundcloud on the table, but one thing is clear Twitter seems to be striving to cement its self as a player in the industry.  It might seem logical to them since a lot of their traffic comes from the big name celebrity acts that have developed  huge followings on the platform.  They are putting their hands in multiple facets of the industry; creating music discover data with Lyor Cohen, developing in time music charts, and now developing some sort of new strategy to fully integrate music in their service.  The first step of this process has already been announced with Billboard but there is more to come.   So how will this effect the industry, I guess we’ll find out in a dew days when everything behind this new strategy is revealed.

 

Sources

http://www.hypebot.com/hypebot/2014/03/twitters-new-music-strategy-vevo-music-videos-beats-music-ads-soundcloud-partnership.html