Biters Beware!!!

Biters Beware!

Man, I can’t STAND a biter! It seems that naturally the business world is FULL of them, and some of them are starting to get on my nerves!

What is a biter? Well since it is a slang term, I’ll refer to Urban Dictionary for a definition:

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Actually, I like these too:

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We all know that guy or girl who just loves to steal an idea! What bothers me is that in person or when working in a group, these people NEVER have an original idea! Could it be that they lack the ability to think critically and solve problems without trying to copy someone else’s work?

Jim Jarmusch, an American film director, has a popular quote that you may be familiar with even if you do not know the man’s resume:

“Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination.” photo-15

It seems that Mr. Jarmusch would encourage biter-like behavior. One could make the argument that many of the greatest advances in humanity can be attributed to a biter that took someone else’s idea and made it great.

Allegedly, Galileo Galilee stole the concept of the telescope from Hans Lippershey after the Dutchman failed to obtain a patent for his work.

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Even the ingenious mind of Albert Einstein didn’t fully develop the theory of relativity. That’s right, Mr. E=MC2 actually borrowed most of the concepts in his book from Henri Poincaré, an expert on the subject in the 19th century.

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Face it: this is the nature of the real world, let alone business.

There was a Friendster before Facebook, and a “Message Pad” before an iPad.

Throughout history, many minds have expanded upon good ideas and made them great ones.

But allow me to read further into the Jarmusch quote:

Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is non-existent.”

Translation: You can’t just take an idea and call it yours. That’s just being an ass.

While biters are being sellouts and trying to steal an idea to make money, achieve fame, or whatever their motive, the Galilee’s, Einstein’s and Jobs’ of the world are finding a way to be innovative to improve things for all mankind.

Biters are a serious problem in our society. Their lack of a true intellectual capacity is holding back our advances as they fool employers into allowing them a place in the workforce.

Do the right thing: become a part of your neighborhood Biter Watch Program (I plan to start these, don’t bite that name). Let’s fight against the intellectual property thieves of the world!

If that doesn’t work, well… beware, Biters! BEWARE!!! Karma is going to come for you!

You know who you are…

@SammyPisano

Xscape: The King of Pop is Back!!!

The King of Pop is back! Sort of…

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After doing a fine job of keeping the news under wraps, more information was released today about the second posthumous album of legendary artist Michael Jackson.

Page Six, commonly known as the celebrity gossip section of the New York Post, announced today that there would be several high profile artists featuring on this upcoming project.

Justin Timberlake. Mary J. Blidge. D’Angelo. ?uestlove.

These are just for highlights of what is slated to be one of the most exciting albums of 2014. In addition, production work from Stargate, Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins, and John McClain has been included.

“Love Never Felt So Good” the lead single from the album, will make its television debut during the iHeartRadio Music Awards, airing live tonight on NBC at 8 p.m.

Stay tuned on this exciting project, scheduled to be released on May 13th.

 

 

 

Usher’s Comeback

Mr. Raymond Teases Fans with a Single Preview

I have been a longtime fan of Usher. I was too young to remember when his debut self-titled album came out (1994) or the arrival of his sophomore project My Way (1997), but boy do I remember 8701.

To me this album was the perfect compilation of R&B music that the industry needed at the time. It has since been certified as 4x platinum, with classic singles like “U Remind Me,” “U Got It Bad,” and “U Don’t Have to Call.”

After witnessing Usher grow as both a musician and a man, I enjoyed over a decade of great recordings, including his most successful album to date, Confessions (2004).

After the 2012 release of Looking 4 Myself, however, I began to question whether the career of Usher was beginning to show its age. Heavily incorporating genres besides R&B, including electronic, europop, and dubstep music, many fans were disappointed in the album’s lack of a more traditional and soulful sound.

Ladies and Gentlemen: I believe Usher is back!

Earlier this week, Usher released a sneak peek of his upcoming single “Good Kisser.”

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Check it out below. I’m excited to see what he has in store for us next!

 

On the Run:

Jay-Z & Beyoncé Announce Summer Tour

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What could possibly be sweeter? Hip Hop’s “First Couple” will be taking the stage in a North American tour. Both artists are showing no signs of relinquishing their respective thrones and proclaim to have very exciting things in store for their fans.

Oddly enough, this will be the first tour that Jay-Z & Beyoncé will embark on together. Kicking of in Miami on June 25, the stars will visit cities including Philadelphia, Atlanta, Dallas, Toronto, and more before completing in San Francisco on August 5.

In addition, it has been announced that $1 from every ticket purchased will be donated to the Shawn Carter Foundation, Jay-Z’s organization in support of students.

Tickets go on sale to the general public through Live Nation on May 2.

Esse Quam Videri:

To be, rather than to seem.

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Well, we are nearing the end of another semester here at Berklee Valencia. As I reflect back over my experiences, I thought it was appropriate to consider the motto of our institution as well.

Esse quam videri – to be, rather than to seem.

This Latin phrase has been on my mind recently because they are great words to live by. I think they reflect the mentality that our program, as well as numerous aspiring music professionals worldwide, should always try to embody.

When a peer reminded me of this slogan that Berklee College so proudly uses, my thoughts were taken back to when I first arrived on this campus. Nervous about having a fresh start and making an impression on my classmates, I remember feeling a natural sense of competition: “I used to be a…” or “I have 5 years of experience doing…” (You can insert almost any music industry related job or field that you like). While I learned a lot of great things about fellow students, over time I have also come to realize that they are not so different from me.

The fact is, we all made a huge sacrifice to be apart from family and friends while studying in Valencia this year.

We all want to find work in the music industry and establish (or rejuvenate) our careers.

We all crave an opportunity to succeed.

I like to talk about how being a good person that is genuine and sincere can take you very far in any industry. (see Can I Holla at Ya?)

Once again, this is a theme that I have been taking to heart lately. As I prepare to enter a tough and competitive industry in less than three months, I keep reminding myself to stay true to who I am. The music business is full of people who try to boost themselves up and really sell their profile (even if it is misleading at times).

Sometime these people are all “all talk” and actually don’t have the knowledge or skills necessary to lead yet are still trying to draw attention. Many of us can imagine that stereotypical cutthroat “business person” who only cares about money and advancing his or her own career. I used to get so frustrated seeing and hearing people do or say whatever it takes to gain an advantage when they are the very people I fear leading the music industry because of their questionable character and motives.

I keep asking myself: if there are so many people like that making noise, how am I to get noticed?

My plan is to continue to work hard at what I am doing now. If I want any chance at getting a job and keeping it, I will need to make sure that I am as competent to fulfill a role as I possibly can be. The rest will work itself out.

There is no point in trying to get people to believe I am someone I’m not. Instead, I am making every effort to do the things I need to.

To be, rather than to seem.

Artist Uncovered: Aries Marquis

I’ll be completely honest… when I saw #LakerNation on his Twitter profile page, I was hesitant to write a blog about Aries Marquis…

Go Celtics!!!

In all seriousness, I stumbled across this R&B singer’s profile while searching for new independent artists to listen to. After reviewing his ‘Imperfections’ EP, I was pleasantly surprised at what I heard.

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When I am listening to a vocalist for the first time, I am hoping to hear a powerful and developed tone quality in their voice. This was most definitely the case for Mr. Marquis. The first song I chose to preview was entitled “Ole Scotlandville,” and it was very reminiscent of older 90’s R&B music from the keyboard and strings riffs, to the soulful lead vocals. There is a tasteful featuring emcee as well that tells of the place where the two artists spent their childhood.

I also really enjoyed the track “Just Us.” With its gliding melody and heartfelt lyrics, this song had lush backing vocals that contributed nicely to the other gospel elements incorporated in the composition.

Overall, I was thoroughly impressed with the project. The 6-track EP is available via Aries Marquis’s Reverb page here:

http://www.reverbnation.com/ariesmarquis/album/61165-imperfections

I am excited to see what Aries Marquis does next in his career. Currently signed to the independent entertainment company Black Music Cartel, his cited influences of Boyz II Men, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, and The Temptations would certainly approve of the passionate music he is delivering.

Follow Aries Marquis on Twitter @AriesMarquis.

*This blog is part of the ‘Artist’s Uncovered’ series by Sammy Pisano.

Can I Holla at Ya?

Can I Holla at Ya? The Secret to Approaching Music Business Professionals

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The Global Entertainment and Music Business program here at Berklee Valencia is designed to give its students a comprehensive education so that they can have a well-rounded set of tools when they enter the workforce. However, I believe that more than almost any other field, success in the music industry heavily depends on the level of interpersonal skills someone has.

Many of my colleagues here on campus have varying talents and skills. I am often impressed to hear some of their accomplishments. Still, I am starting to question whether the ability to consistently interact amicably with other people is something that our generation is missing.

I accredit my social skills to being a military brat. Having a father in the Marine Corps meant moving 8 times before starting high school. I was always the new kid and as a result had to get good at making new friends. I am usually able to enjoy the company of many great acquaintances, but only 1 or 2 people close to me that I can trust. This is something that I have come to embrace as I grew older, and I would argue that because I have never completely felt accepted or included most group settings, my ability to listen, observe, and learn about people has been fine tuned.

Relating this to the music business, I hope that this gives me an advantage when networking and meeting industry professionals. More often than not, I have been shocked at how my peers in various stages of my career have approached some of these business people. While admittedly, sometimes it is comical, other times it is just appalling.

I have laughed silently to myself watching a peer blow several hundred dollars on drinks for industry professionals only to get blown off afterwards because he claimed his artist was “the Next Big Thing.” Please.

I have groaned internally as I watched a colleague pull out an iPhone and try to play a demo for an industry A&R at a networking event. Wrong approach. Wrong setting. Wrong time.

I have seen an individual chase down a music executive and slide a business card into his jacket pocket!

I have rallied every ounce of strength in my body to keep from exploding on a classmate that literally shoved me out of the way at a conference to go talk to a music professional I had been working to get in contact with for four months. AAAAHHHH!!!

I understand that we are in a competitive industry, but whatever happened to being nice?

We often forget that music executives in positions of influence are people too!

Ironically enough, the majority of industry professionals in high positions that I have studied or had the opportunity to meet are… SURPRISE! Extremely polite and cordial people. They have their own lives and appreciate those that treat them respect. Being nice can go a long ways, even in the music industry.

Motown/Universal A&R and Manager Ray Daniels articulated best how to approach executives. He compared it to wooing another man or woman! We all know how we wish to be approached by a dating prospect. And someone that approaches us the wrong way always leaves a sour taste in our mouths.

Watch Ray Daniels explain this concept in more detail right here:

Moral of the story? Treat others with respect. No one is perfect. I have made plenty of mistakes myself, but I always want to treat my peers with kindness and maintain good relationships with them. And for those that have made wrong impressions or even burned bridges? It’s never too late to clean up that behavior. You never know when a former classmate or colleague will be in a position to help you in this industry. And when you left a favorable memory of you with them, most likely they will.

Introducing…Wallace

Introducing…Wallace!

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Sammy Pisano, who performs under the mononym “Wallace,” is an American R&B artist from Beaufort, North Carolina. An alumni of UNC Wilmington, Wallace studied jazz piano after entering the university with intentions of majoring in Political Science. “It’s like I did a complete 180,” Wallace explains. “I always knew deep down that I wanted to pursue music. I guess it just took time for me to make the decision to really go after my dreams.”

Wallace cites Ne-Yo and John Legend as two of his major influences, claiming that the “sense of poetic romance in their lyrics” is something that he really enjoys but thinks has been missing in contemporary R&B/urban pop records. “I try to make music with powerful hooks that people can sing along and dance to. Music is such an important part of my life, and I am just thankful to be able to share my creations with the rest of the world.”

The latest work of Wallace, entitled “Sex, Love & Alcohol,” is a collaboration album with Vegas based rapper Pappagiorgio. The project is a collection of party records, romance songs, and what Wallace calls “feel good” music. View his promo video for the project below:

To view his profiles, visit his Twitter at @Kidd_Wallace or his Facebook at /WallaceOfficialTV.

Introducing… Pappagiorgio!

Introducing… Pappagiorgio!

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Pappagiorgio is an American rapper born in San Diego, CA. After beginning his career as an emcee in 2004, citing rap artists Snoop Dogg, Kool Keith, and Andre 3000 as influences, Pappagiorgio visited the city of Las Vegas and was captivated by its atmosphere. The talented artist soon after relocated to the city. His music now, as described in the biography on his website, he “embodies the spirit of classic Las Vegas entertainment in the form of today’s Hip-Hop.”

In 2010, Pappagiorgio attended Berklee College of Music to pursue a degree in songwriting. After completing the program in two years, the rapper began pursuing other musical endeavors in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, London, and Spain. Pappagiorgio has developed his skills both on the microphone and as a music entrepreneur.

The most recent work of Pappagiorgio, a collaboration album with R&B artist, Wallace, is set to release in the early spring. Entitled “Sex, Love & Alcohol,” the project elaborates on his love of a Vegas lifestyle, balancing party records with smoother, sensual tunes.

View Pappagiorgio’s promo video for “Sex, Love & Alcohol” below:

In addition to his love of music, Pappagiorgio is an avid sports fan, following the LA Clippers, the San Diego Chargers, and the Anaheim Ducks. He also is a passionate beer lover, aspiring to create his own brews, and a self-proclaimed Ancient Astronaut Theorist.

For more information on Pappagiorgio, visit his profiles at @HipHopandBeer or facebook.com/VegasPappaG.

A&R Profile: Mike Flynn

Name: Mike Flynn

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Position: Senior VP of A&R, Capitol Records

In May 2013, Mike Flynn was announced as the Senior VP of A&R for Capital Records. Flynn will also serve as a staff producer for the company. Flynn is being highlighted for his 15-year career in the music industry. Having initially been signed to Epic Records as a recording artist, Flynn was named the senior A&R Executive and Staff Producer for the label. He has an incredible ear for talent and is has successfully balance his role in A&R with production.

Flynn is credited on various albums with a wide range of artists including The Fray, Cher, Sara Bareilles, Sean Kingston, John Mellencamp, and more. It is even more notable that his production work on The Fray’s 2005 album “How to Save a Life” resulted in over five million albums and fifteen million singles sold worldwide.

“It is an amazing opportunity to be part of rebuilding such a legendary music company as the Capitol Music Group,” Flynn commented. “He [Steve Barnett, Chair/CEO of Capitol Music Group] is assembling a group of talented people with a shared vision for the future of the music industry. I look forward to breaking new artists with Steve, Dan, Gregg Thompson, Michelle Jubelirerand the entire CMG team.”