Xscape: The King of Pop is Back!!!

The King of Pop is back! Sort of…

michael-jackson-xscape-e1398967574498

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.

 

 

 

Music Video of the Week : Justin Timberlake’s ‘Tunnel Vision’

Music :

While this song is not the hit single of JT’s the 20/20 experience album, it definitely stands out as a quality track. It was written and produced by Timberlake, Timbaland, James Fauntleroy, and Jerome Harmon. It features audible content from Timbaland who lent his signature beat-making and beat-boxing skills for the creation of this track.

The instrumental strikes as quite sinister right from the start. It builds off an overdriven vocal sample, what sounds like a vacuous trumpet-like melodic line and a high pitched arpeggio. After a few bars they give into into a bass-heavy beat with clear-cut side stick hits and some of Timbaland’s infamous ad-libs and vocal scratch sounds. On the vocal front JT taps into both his lower and higher vocal ranges throughout and shows he is comfortable in either of the two, adding to the dramatic effect of the song.  His arpeggiated backing vocals echo the layered soundscape created by Timbaland. This indubitably allows them to feed off one another as far as creative techniques and arrangement go.

With regards to the lyrical content, JT talks about this ‘Tunnel Vision’ he has for his love interest, describing his infatuation in almost voyeuristic terms. His writing echoes his previous works in some ways; lyrical themes from ‘Cry Me a River’ or ‘My Love’ appear throughout this track.

Video :

The suave grey texture of the video matches the sinister vibe of the track. JT shows off his sweet moves that he is already quite known for and uses the syncopated beats to the advantage of his choreography. The ‘cool’ factor of the video is Timbaland appearance – or more accurately his mouth – beat-boxing along to the song. The more controversial element of the song comes in then. Timberlake decided to venture in the nude-art territory when he decided to have topless women feature in this music video. Not only are these women topless, but he dances fully clothed alongside them via projector montage. The video had to be taken off Youtube a few hours after its release and re-submitted with a content warning page to filter the traffic to the video. Now this may not be unpleasant to the majority of the male population viewing this video, however it feels a bit ‘déja-vu’ to have a playboy-looking type artist dancing alongside topless models.

Robin Thicke and Pharrell used this concept over the summer to release the video for their song ‘Blurred Lines’. It feels like the video to their song acts more as a sales tool than anything else though. The women casted for the part – very attractive albeit – are more there for show it feels. Thicke played off of the summer vibe and used this as a marketing technique; the ladies are walking around, topless, and randomly-timed hashtag words flash up on the screen in the hopes of brainwashing the audience. This is where JT differentiates his approach. The models are not striking random poses like they’re part of the furniture, they’re supplely dancing with a more ‘artsy’ feel to it. Kaleidoscopic patterns are projected overtop of them all the while and lyrics appear on the backdrop in a blended and non-aggressive, non-promotional way. Once again, the male population watching the video might not be complaining. But unfortunately, because of the length of the track the concept loses impact a good minute or two before the video ends.

Tunnel Vision :

Executive Producer: Jeff Nicholas
Produced by Jonathan Craven and Nathan Scherrer
Directed by Jonathan Craven, Simon McLoughlin and Jeff Nicholas for The Uprising Creative
Director Of Photography: Sing Howe Yam
Editor: Jacqueline London

 

Strategy: Personality

It’s no surprise we’ve all heard of Justin Timberlake’s re-conquest to American pop-music market. Despite a six-year musical hiatus, his reentry release The 20/20 Experience has been distractingly seamless – all according to plan. Billboard recently published a timeline detailing the entirety of JT’s relevant moves since the start of his egress from music in 2008. Reading through the list, you’ll find entries ranging from Timberlake’s 2009 role in the movie “The Social Network” to his ownership investment in the new MySpace. All of these premeditations have been carried out to maintain one of the most engaging, effective tools an artist has at his disposal – a radiant, intriguing, commanding personality.

In Justin’s case, a six year absence proved to be a non sequitur simply because he never really left the public view. It’s clear that it hasn’t ever been completely about his music, but rather the compelling personality that flowed through it. If there’s anything we can learn from Justin’s years of build-up to The 20/20 Experience, it’s that an artist’s personality, however complex, is imperative to consider as a factor of any professional strategy.

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Before a business begins developing its organization, its products, or its distribution and marketing, it’s imperative to analyze what core values the company intends to represent. It is this knowledge that provides the framework for day-to-day operations. [Oftentimes, you’ll find a hint at what these driving characteristics are in a firm’s mission statement – although you’ll equally as often find some bullshit about a promise to “provide the best value to customers” or “offer high quality _____ for the most affordable price.”] For artists, this step requires a bit of introspection. To really benefit from the eclectic and electric personality of creative people, one must really focus on the few distinct traits upon which the others are based. Just like a clever business hinges on real values, the actions artists take can be tailored to really focus on ‘what makes you, you.’ 

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One of the most successful entrepreneurs in the entertainment industry – Sean “Puff Daddy/P-Diddy/etc.” Combs – has been quite successful in this respect. He’s targeted a few personal attributes upon which he’s guided his career in entertainment. For Combs, ever since his early 90’s success as a performer and music executive, he’s cultivated a diligent, clever and resultantly affluent disposition. In addition to successful music and clothing brand ventures, Combs has thrived as an actor, performing roles only conducive to his commanding, hard-working, achieving personality.

For budding artists, your early adopters are typically your friends, who tend to like you regardless of your music. What’s more, your personality is the first thing new fans will notice when seeing you perform so it’s important to continue showing your colors with anything you do. When considering your own unique attack plan on the music market, be sure to keep in mind – what makes you interesting as a person makes you interesting as an artist! 

Female Producer of the Week

 

Lisa Chamblee Hampton- CEO, Black Fox Entertainment, executive producer, Making Music Herstory 

Why she’s awesome:

Worked with several Grammy nominated artists- Prince on his 3121 album and also with Justin Timberlake on his Future Sex/Love Sounds album. Founded her own production and engineering firm, Black Fox Entertainment, in 2004. She has also done recordings for artists like Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Eric Benet, and Ledisi.

What she is doing to put female producers in the spotlight:

She founded a project to feature all female artists, producers, writers, and engineers called “Making Music Herstory” and also moderated a panel at NAMM 2011 (one of the world’s largest music product trade shows) called Women Behind the Console: Inside the Process.

Why this project is important:

This project features and makes known female producers who could potentially be role models for women who want to pursue the profession. The fact that it was discussed at NAMM along with the panel gave the project great publicity. The project, if marketed in the right way, could reach and inspire many.