Adele, a silence well-orchestrated

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One week ago, nobody would have expected to get so much news and content from Adele, the world critically-acclaimed pop-star. On October 21st, she published a letter on Facebook in which she explains the creative process of the album “25” and apologizes for the long silence because “you know, life happened”. One day after, she reveals the release date of the new album which is basically one month after. On the same day, the new single and video “Hello” is released. That’s a brilliant commercial coup from Adele that makes all the internet crazy and enthusiastic about hearing the singer in a new production.

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The strategy of the management and label was pretty clear : Get the most out of the last album (which is full of hits and sold 11,2 millions copies in the US) by making it highly profitable for a long period of time (4 years till now). Creating silence and mystery really worked well, Adele announcement came like a bomb! I personally don’t think the reasons of that absence were so “philosophical” as described in the letter, it’s a mix between the time needed for the new album production including the songwriting (and I even wonder if most of the songs were already written way before) and marketing strategies. This is not a coincidence if the release date is just before Christmas, that’s a holy period for the music business. Imagine how much albums of Adele will be wrapped under the tree : “How thank you, that’s exactly the CD I wanted, Adele is amazing, …”

It’s also important to mention that Adele worked a lot on her image by loosing a lot of weight for example. She needed time to fully perform that new strategy and now she gets the benefits of that effort even though I’m sure she would have sold a lot even without working on that aspect. Her voice is far beyond any superficial judgments.

The recent numbers of sales and streams are unbelievable : more than 70 millions views on Youtube 4 days after the release of the video. According to Billboard, Adele would have sold already 450,000 single digital songs in US.

The radio critics are ultra-positive about the new song. For example, Mike Mullaney, WBMX Boston assistant pd/md says :“The amount of passion for this artist and this song is truly incredible. Just look at social media, people’s reaction to the song and support for her as an artist. She is just dominating Facebook and Twitter”. Sharon Dastur, iHeartMedia senior VP programming integration adds : “It’s incredible. With an artist like Adele, expectations are already set so high, and she’s far exceeded those expectations. She draws you in with her compelling storytelling and really has a voice like no other. I can’t tell you how excited I am for this project.”

We can be almost sure that the new album will break records and go beyond the sales of “21”. Adele has everything to be highly competitive : Powerful songs, powerful voice, high effective image, a big database of fans, a wide social media presence… Everything is ready to make the new album of Adele a unique success in the music industry history.

Talking Is Hard; Instagram is Easy.

Ohio natives Walk The Moon (stylized WALK THE MOON) have just had their first Billboard hit with “Shut Up and Dance”, the first single off their 2014 sophomore major label release, Talking Is Hard (RCA Records). Although the foursome of Nicholas Petricca, Eli Maiman, Kevin Ray, and Sean Waugaman have had a large cult following since their independent release of I Want! I Want! in 2010, their first Billboard track has truly propelled them forward. The alt-pop band is taking advantage of their surge of success by updating their social media regularly with, you guessed it, cover songs.

Keeping a keen eye on their demographic—their fans range from 16-30 years old, generally—they keep their fifteen second, Instagram appropriate covers a clever mix of new jams and old favorites that their main fan base will recognize. Just take a look at their most recent covers and you’ll see what I mean:

The covers began in July of 2014, when Walk The Moon was on tour supporting Panic! At The Disco. Still going strong, Walk The Moon has posted over twenty covers to date and show no signs of stopping while on their own headlining tour. From A-ha’s iconic “Take On Me” to the somewhat less iconic, but still quite notable “Graduation (Friends Forever)” by Vitamin C, Walk The Moon has found a dynamic way to mix their musicality with their often hilarious and always energetic personalities to capitalize on what they do best: make the listener happy.

Their “note to listeners” in the album booklet of Talking Is Hard explains their philosophy best:

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The songs on this album achieve what they set out to do, but perhaps even more impressive is that each of their cover songs do the same. The gents in Walk The Moon put as much energy, humor, and heart into their covers as they do anything else. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that they’re covering some well-known songs, and using hashtags to identify them. Have a sudden desire to explore Kelly Clarkson’s greatest hits? If you look up her name on any of the social media sites Walk The Moon uses, their fifteen second cover of “Since You’ve Been Gone” will appear in the results, allowing for new fans to not only see the musical abilities of the band, but their carefree spirits that make them so fun to watch live. The personality of a band is often the biggest draw to a fan, aside from the music the band produces, of course. These videos combine both into easy to watch—but easy to keep watching—segments that are a perfect way to introduce a potential fan to a group.

Clever as it may seem marketing-wise, you get the feeling that many of the covers aren’t exactly planned out far ahead of time. Some involve empty rooms with good acoustics the band seems to have just stumbled upon. Others are inspired by wherever the guys may be at the moment. Is the venue near the woods? Why not cover Bon Iver’s “Woods”? Do you suddenly find yourself on a boat? Time to cover “Come Sail Away” by Styx! It really does seem as simple and authentic as that. And if that ain’t some Midwest charm, then I don’t know what is.

Growing Up, Part I

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but let’s talk about Miley Cyrus.

I don’t need to tell you about her career, but we can talk about her music.

Miley started out as a young singer with a young audience. This is “7 Things” from Breakout in 2008, her first album completely separated from Hannah Montana.

The song is formulaic and predictable, and Miley’s voice is a little whiney. However, she’s already demonstrating strong vocal technique – you can’t fault her there. The content is appropriate for a tween audience, but very mild. It’s not too exciting, but speaks directly to them.

In the next example, “Party in the U.S.A.” (in the 2009 EP The Time of Our Lives), Miley keeps the teeny-bopper style. She grows up in content a little bit, while still remaining within the realm of safe. Take a listen:

Do you how her voice is broadening? She has a fuller sound, and has grown in vocal dexterity since her previous album. This song is, unfortunately, very catchy… I’ve been singing it all afternoon despite my best my musical preferences. I guess that’s good news for Miley, though.

In 2010, Miley needed to stretch the boundaries a little more in order to keep up with her aging fan base. The next song we’ll listen to, “Can’t be Tamed” (featured on an album of the same name), tests the waters for a new artistic direction.

The imagery on the video is darker: less playful and more intense than her previous videos, with more explicit sexual suggestions. Miley’s voice has darkened too, and she finally looses the whiney tinge we’ve been hearing throughout her previous work. Her music has also changed: the percussive elements hit harder, and the instrumental arrangements create a sound that is more sinister than playful (such as we heard in “Party in the U.S.A”).

Miley attempted to grow up with her audience by creating an image of independence and rebellion. Considering that Can’t Be Tamed didn’t make it to #1 (although #3 isn’t bad!), this image didn’t resonate as well with audiences as it could have.

Remember the way Lecrae chose to test-drive a new strategy before committing fully? Miley is testing the waters too: trying to find an image of independence and rebellion that resonates with her growing-up fan base.

Come back in a few days to take a look at the decision Miley went with (though you already know it), and the direction I wish she’d taken!

Artist Match Up of the Week: The Ceremonies Vs. Betty Who

First Up…

Name: The Ceremonies

Sounds Like:  fun. , The Smiths 

Label: Capitol Records 

Websites:

 http://theceremonies.com/
https://www.facebook.com/theCEREMONIES

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The Ceremonies is an American rock band from Los Angeles, California.  Their sound has been described as ‘80s New Wave nostalgia meets cutting-edge alternative rock. The three members, of the band consists of brothers Matthew Cook (age 21), Mark Cook (age 20), and Michael Cook (age 20).  Formed in 2010 they did not  release any music until late 2012. They are currently managed by Troy Carter and has been signed to a joint label between Atom factory and Capitol Records.

The Ceremonies have listed some of their influences being  Echo and The Bunnymen, The Smiths, and The Cure.   They recently released theur self-titled debut EP on October 8th, 2013 preceding the debut of their music video “Land Of Gathering”, which was featured on MTV´s Artists to Watch. Check out the video below. 

Check out some of their other tracks as well.

I think they do a good job describing their sound, its  a new age type of indie rock and you can really hear the influences bands like the Smiths have had on them.  I definitely can´t say I don´t like what I hear.   The have a good new sound and a real connection to social media, which we all know is a huge factors these days.  They know how to connect with their fans without just posting about their music. The use Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and youtube and follow a consistent image.  It refreshing to see young artists have a defined sound and look already established, there is a lot potential in this group of brothers.

Next Up…

Name: Betty Who

Label: RCA Records

Sounds Like: Katy Perry, Madonna, 

Website: 

http://bettywhomusic.com/

https://www.facebook.com/bettywhomusic

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This next artists has been featured in a lot of blogs and has already created a following after a video featuring her song went viral.  This Australian-born, New York-based pop singer released her upbeat debut EP, The Movement, last April. Since then, the 22-year-old born Jessica Newham has worked tirelessly to get her catchy melodies as good as anything topping the charts today. She has recently  joined a roster of RCA artists that includes heavyweights like Justin Timberlake, Britney Spears and Kelly Clarkson. Her second EP is due out in early 2014.

Check out the Viral Video that had her name burning up the blog world.

Take a listen to her debut EP, The Movement

Conclusion

I think in this case I would sign both these acts!  Each one has something that I think would make them successful in the industry today.  The Ceremonies have an interesting sounds a a defined look, I think their ready for big things.  Betty Who knows how to write a damn good pop song and I can see her competing with current pop artists like Katy Perry and Taylor Swift.

What do you all think?  Who would you sign? 

Sources: 14 Musical Acts To Watch in 2014 | TIME.com http://entertainment.time.com/2013/11/13/14-bands-and-artists-to-watch-in-2014/#ixzz2n0eEIm1f

Music Video Of The Week – John Mayer – ‘Where The Light Is’ – Live in L.A.

Michael McDonald – Executive producer

Lindha Narvaez – Producer

Danny Clinch – Director

Chris Zimmer – Production Supervisor

Vance Burberry – Cinematography

Music:

This week’s music video segment is focused on John Mayer. He is better known for his pop/corny/cheesy songwriting skills and the broad audience of listeners generally think they got him all figured out from the start. One thing I can assure you, is that by the end of this show you will have seen a brand new facet of the artist you’d probably never thought you’d see. Mayer is just out right phenomenal in this performance. The show consists of three acts : John Mayer acoustic, John Mayer trio, and the John Ensemble. With this approach he is able to showcase the full spectrum of his musical abilities. The opening act is him interpreting some of his famous acoustic songs from some earlier days. You find songs such as Free Fallin’, Stop this Train, Daughters, Neon, and In Your Atmosphere. The second act features Mayer, Pino Paladino (world-class bassist), and Steve Jordan on drums (Steve also helped Mayer produce some of his studio work); and no one grooves quite like Jordan. The set-list for this act is more blues-jazz oriented, with covers of Hendrix (a flawless rendition of Bold As Love if it weren’t for the overly corny interlude) as well as Mayer originals. There his Stevie Ray Vaughan-esque playing blended with BB. King and Albert King licks just ooze out of the man’s fingertips. From single line hooks, to wah-powered rapid fire licks and phased out triplet double-stop runs, he covers it all. It is almost unreal the tone this guy gets. And I’m going to have to be honest; this show is probably the reason why I got a Fender Strat. This part of the show will definitely hit home for the blues aficionado. In the third act, Mayer showcases his songwriting forte and directs a 10+ man ensemble. The big band plays songs from Mayer’s Continuum mainly, but also Room for Squares. And again, his tone, feel and interpretation are without comparison. The band exchanges solos on I Don’t Need No Doctor and show-off a funk/jazz end of their repertoire. The final song to close off the ceremony is I’m Gonna Find Another You, a Mayer take on a jazz/blues standard. In other words a blues/jazz song about yet another failed relationship. But regardless, Mayer solos through the chords as an introduction and the man’s playing is just as impressive in jazz as it is in blues. This performance just goes to show how much of an accomplished singer-songwriter, musician and guitarist John Mayer is.

Video:

The opening and ending credits see John Mayer on a hill that overhangs the city of Los Angeles, sat on a stool, with an amp set-up and a guitar in his hands. The scenery is just an taster as to what is to come in terms of cinematographic composition. The picture is there to match the quality of the playing, that’s for sure! With travelling panoramic shots, close-up sequences, you get a really good grasp on the dynamic interplay between members and the vibe Mayer was aiming for. The colour palette chosen for the lighting matches the changes in camera angles and the vibe of the performance tremendously. During the trio performance, Mayer, Paladino and Jordan are all dressed to the nines in fancy black suits and ties; bringing back the authentic feel of early blues days. You also get great insights on Mayer’s personality on and off stage; the camera crew follows him around as he prepares for the show, between sets and through off days. And the spectator really gets to see how much of a kick he gets out of being a performing and recording artist. But we also get to see the downside of fame where paparazzi take the fun out of it. But the main point that he is trying to get across is that this performance is about highlighting his talent as a well-rounded musician and to change people’s preconceived opinion that they ‘have seen the whole reveal‘.

A definite recommendation if you’re into guitar-playing, blues in general or even just plain and simple GOOD live music.