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Meet The Winners Of The John Mayer Side Stage Warfare Competition In July

Winning artists from the June John Mayer “Side Stage Warfare” Competition recently rocked out arena-sized crowds at venues in Scranton, Boston, Cleveland and Indianapolis. In July, we offered artists the chance at nabbing a side-stage slot on John Mayer’s “Battle Studies” tour in Phoenix, Atlanta, Houston and West Palm Beach. Over 1,000 artists submitted their music in July for a shot at the stage and the battling was fierce throughout the month.

The dust has settled since then, and now 4 acts are on their way to playing in front of thousands of screaming fans. Hand-picked from the Top 20 of each channel by John Mayer and his team, these artists have won not only a chance to play on the summer “Battle Studies” tour, but also free tickets to the show so their friends and family can be there to cheer them on. Check out the winners and their OurStage profiles below:

Atlanta Winner
The Kicks
View Profile | Listen to The Kicks | See All Entrants
Houston Winner
SleeperStar
View Profile | Listen to SleeperStar | See All Entrants
Phoenix Winner
Jesse Thomas
View Profile | Listen to Jesse Thomas | See All Entrants
West Palm Beach Winner
RIA
View Profile | Listen to RIA | See All Entrants

Metal Monday: Nu Metal Lives On!

Rewind ten years to the mainstream metal scene at the dawn of the new millennium. No kids with flippy hair, just baggy Dickies and backwards baseball caps. Back when nu metal reigned supreme in the mainstream metal world. The year 2000 marked the release of Mudvayne‘s L.D. 50 as well as Deftones‘s White Pony—easily two of the most highly regarded nu metal albums ever released.

mudvayneToday in 2010, many bands that led the original nu metal charge are still very much alive and kicking. On May 4th, Deftones released their seventh studio album, Diamond Eyes to critical acclaim. Nu metal legends Sevendust released their eighth studio album, Cold Day Memory to a lot of good press as well. But not all nu metal bands have had such lasting power. Bands such as Limp Bizkit fell off the map completely, and are now trying to hop back on the nu metal train and ride it to more riches with their fall 2010 release Cold Cobra. Other nu metal bands with 2010 releases: Korn, Mushroomhead,  Linkin Park, Nonpoint, Stone Sour, Ill Niño, Disturbed, 36 Crazyfists and Mnemic. Sounds like the year 2000, right?

This begs the question, why now? And who is still listening to this stuff? Try to remember who listened to nu metal back in 2000? It was mostly angsty teenagers who are now in their mid twenties, perhaps clinging on to the (not so) fond memories of their rebellious youth. Regardless, which would you prefer—hilarious “over-the-hill” nu metal bands or whiny young kids with flippy hair? At least we can get a laugh along the way while we get a good album or two from the whole movement.

The Old Soul

Hannah Thomas

Hannah Thomas may be a fresh-faced 21-year-old, but she’s got a seasoned voice that sounds like it’s seen it all already. And maybe it has seen a good bit. Thomas made her debut at an open mic night at Atlanta’s songwriter haunt, Eddie’s Attic back in 2006. From there, it was full-steam ahead—taking first place in competitions, appearing on local TV and radio shows and releasing a record. “The Rest is Yet to Come” is Thomas’ first offering, a low country, bluesy, coming-of-age anthem that sounds like it could have been written by KT Tunstall. “Will I get married settle down and have some babies? Or spend my whole life searching and never find love?” the singer muses. Thomas’ deep, smoldering drawl is her calling card. The electric guitars may whinny, the bass and drums may thump, but it’s Thomas’ voice that will thrill you to your country-lovin’ core.

Scene & Heard: Las Vegas, NV

“What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” is one of the most famous travel mottos out there thanks in part to the abundance of  casinos, clubs and lavish resorts. This week, we’ll stop in and take a virtual look at “Sin City” and learn why it has become the Entertainment Capital of the US.

The music scene of Las Vegas is obviously flooded with outlandish onstage performances, big name acts and huge venues. In terms of a “local” scene, it’s much different than many other scenes. It’s difficult to find a band that actually claims their origins in Vegas, as it is flooded with big name acts and non-musical “extravaganza” performances. Perhaps this is why Vegas immediately conjures up images of Wayne Newton, Siegfried & Roy and Cher.

Much of the Vegas entertainment market is tied directly to the casino/resort market. Many of these establishments, like the Bellagio and the MGM Grand, have their own notable stage. Extravagant performances like Cirque du Soleil attract many visitors to huge auditoriums every year. On top of this, Vegas also has venues exclusively devoted to music and touring acts. The Las Vegas House of Blues is one of the most well known locations of the nation-wide venue chain started by Dan Aykroyd. In the coming weeks it will host Lamb of God, Hatebreed and Steel Panther. Another large chain in Vegas, The Hard Rock Café, will host Neon Trees and the Paper Tongues.

Las Vegas also has its share of smaller-sized clubs to offer. When pouring over the scene, what stuck out to me the most was the blues/rock presence. Many of the clubs in the area cater to guitar heavy blues music with a “west coast” flair. The Sand Dollar, located on Spring Mountain Rd is a bit off the beaten path. However, they offer a lineup of resident blues musicians with that heavy, driving Vegas sound.

OurStage Vegas rock band Left Standing—an in-your-face melodic, alternative rock band that has been tearing up stages cross country for the past several years—was kind of enough to give me their personal experiences in the local Vegas scene.  The band has participated in shows for 94.1 and 107.5 which has hosted shows for bands like Papa Roach, System of a Down, Switchfoot, Cypress Hill, Godsmack, Staind and Stone Temple Pilots. They’ve played venues like Whiskey a Go Go, The Viper Room and The Stone Pony. To put things into perspective, the band said, “There are so many things to do in this city besides going to see a local band that if you are not on your game people will lose interest quickly.” This sentiment sums up the whole Sin City vibe and really portrays the difficulty of the local music scene. According to Left Standing, Vegas is a musical “family of diversity”.

The band paid tribute to the Vegas House of Blues by naming it their favorite local room to play. “Huge stage, great sound, a place that can hold a lot of people, but at the same time still feels intimate. A lot of venues lose the most important thing in rock, the connection between the fans and the band.” The band even went into discussion about some of the local radio stations (KOMP 92.3 and 107.5 Extreme Radio) and their tendency to play music by bands that will be playing locally in the coming week.

Check out Left Standing’s OurStage profile to stay tuned for the release of their latest album Brand New Day which will be available on iTunes as well as on their Web site. Catch them on their upcoming cross-country tour.

Poptarts: Koalia

The OK Go craze swept the nation after the release of their famous treadmill video. But a viral YouTube video can only take you so far. You need to have the look, the attitude and, of course, the sound. Upbeat pop music can take on many forms. This week’s Poptarts pick, Koalia, supports that “OK Go” aesthetic with an almost Sugar Ray-like flair. Yes, that was a Sugar Ray reference.

The band’s latest single, “Radioman,” left the whole OurStage office nodding their heads when I played it. With upbeat rhythms, optimistic vocals and a pinch of distortion, what else would you expect ? In fact, if you listen hard enough you can hear the echoes of a ’60s pop-rock song, complete with 3 part harmonies and clear electric guitars. The bottom line: this band creates music synonymous with the term “party pop/rock”.

Koalia hails from Finland and boasts significant regional notoriety. While the Finnish indie scene isn’t commonly discussed, the band has secured many gigs and collaborations within their local market. Recently, Koalia played gigs in the cities of Oulu and Tempere. In addition to ranking high on OurStage, their music has been featured on local radio station YLEX as well as other online indie radio. Currently, they are working on a video for “Radioman.” Keep an eye out for it, and listen to the song here:

New Music Biz 101: Facebook (Part 2)

In Facebook (Part 1) we discussed a few important tips to help expand your Facebook fan base. In this week’s blog, we’ll discuss strategies to help increase conversion rates to fandom on Facebook. Driving more traffic to your page can be difficult. You want to be sure that you’re able to capitalize upon your efforts.

One of the best ways to increase your conversion rates to fandom on Facebook is by creating a custom Facebook tab. To create a tab in Facebook, you’ll need to have a basic understanding of Facebook’s native coding language, FBML. We won’t go too deep into this today, but we’ll go over the basic features you should include on your page. That way, you’ll have the essentials when getting someone to help you create the page.

  1. Your page is all about the music. Be sure there is an easy way to listen to your music quickly. Whether it’s a link to a Web site where potential fans can stream a song, a YouTube video embedded on the page or, better yet, a system where someone can download a track in exchange for an email address, you need to have a way for fans to experience your art.
  2. Call to action. Make sure your landing page has a clear call to action to join—an arrow pointing to the “Like” button, a message at the bottom of the page, even an embedded video explaining why someone should join. Give fans a reason to connect with you!
  3. Visual representation. Show the viewer what you and your music is all about. Literally. Include pictures of you and your band showing off a bit of your personality, or create a look and feel to the page that goes along well with your style of music.
  4. Link up. Make sure you link to your other social media profiles and Web site. You want your fans to connect with you on as many levels as possible!
  5. Use analytics. Information about where your fans are coming from and where they’re going once they hit your landing page is really important. Here’s a great post about how to set up Google analytics on your Facebook landing page from SocialMediaExaminer.com

Be sure to make your page the default tab for new viewers. You can change this in the page settings on Facebook. Here are a few landing pages to take a look at that we think do a pretty good job incorporating some or all of the points above:

The Artist E-dubble’s Facebook Page

The Artist “Unknown - The Universal Element’s” Facebook Page

Folkin’ Around: Antje Duvekot

If you liked our folk artist pick Meg Hutchinson a few weeks ago, you’ll be excited to hear that our choice this week is Antje Duvekot. These two artists have unique careers and sounds, and they share a few things in common. Both are a strong songwriting presence in the greater Boston area (winning several individual songwriting contests/mentions). They are also prominent members of the Boston-based, songwriting all-star cast that makes up Winterbloom.

Duvekot’s music merges the folk and country aesthetic with indie and singer/songwriter vocals and lyrics. In fact, all the angst, poetry and longing in Duvekot’s lyrics easily accent the lofty melodies with which she sings them. “When are you going to come for me, Lord?” is the opening line of the chorus in her song “Pearls”. Juxtaposed with the somewhat dark lyrics that riddle the verses, this line is sung with an appropriately memorable tune. The request sung so many times in the song, seems to be answered by the end with catchy, satisfying progressions and smooth, natural accompaniment. Check it out:

With several songwriting and folk awards (including regional artist awards and the grand prize in the John Lennon Songwriting Contest) under her belt, Duvekot obviously has a talent for writing and the performance chops to go with it. And thanks to frequent performances on the festival circuit, domestically at the Mountain Stage festival and abroad at The Celtic Connections Festival in Scotland and the Tonder Festival in Denmark,  she’s shared the stage with acts like Patti Griffin, Lyle Lovett and the Indigo girls. Her song “Merry Go Round” was even featured on a 2008 Bank of America commercial which aired during the Super Bowl. Take a listen and get your dose of tasteful arrangements and thoughtful lyrics.

Needle in the Haystack Follow Up: Brightside Drive

To wrap up this week’s Needle in the Haystack, we’re bringing you an awesome interview with the band Brightside Drive. These up-and-coming stars have a lot going for them, so it will be exciting to see how they continue on with their promising career. Check out the video below as well as their free track “What If?” from Monday’s post.

This Week on Vibe.com

Check it! Every Friday on the OurStage Blog, we will be featuring exclusive content from the one-and-only VIBE.com. Stay tuned for weekly photos, music, news and reviews coming straight from the source that’s redefining hip hop.

UPDATE: Fantasia Leaving Hospital Soon, According To Manager Statement

As Fantasia Barrino recovers from her Monday night overdose of aspirin and sleep aids, her manager, Brian Dickens, has released a statement reporting on her condition.

Dickens’ statement says that the former American Idol winner, who’s recently found herself in the center of a love triangle with on-and-off boyfriend Antwaun Cook and his alleged wife, is in stable condition and will be released from the hospital soon. Continue reading on Vibe.com…

B.o.B: ‘Charles Hamilton Is Not Crazy’

At the moment, B.o.B is in the proverbial zone. The Georgia-born rapper, guitarist and producer has garnered immense global commercial success as his first two singles “Nothin’ on You” and “Airplanes” have dominated the Billboard pop charts and radio. The unlikely crossover star, whose debut album B.o.B Presents: The Adventures of Bobby Ray has received critical acclaim, also scored a high profile television commercial spot with Adidas which features his new single “Magic.” Yet, as he takes in his breakout accomplishments, the state of his friend and past collaborator Charles Hamilton is heavy on B.o.B’s mind.

The troubled Hamilton, who was recently released from New York’s Long Beach Medical Center psych unit, has had a few rough years since getting publicly slapped by a girl on video and becoming a music blog pariah. But B.o.B says the eccentric pink headphone-wearing MC is not as off the ledge as he is being portrayed. Continue reading on Vibe.com…

‘Love The Way You Lie’ Director: ‘Megan [Fox] Was The Key’

Eminem and Rihanna shattered Youtube records last Thursday (Aug. 5)  for the most views in a 24-hour period with their visual ride for “Love The Way You Lie,” bringing in over 6.6 million hits on the first day of its release.

Directed by Joseph Kahn, who has worked with Marshall on three previous projects and crafted videos for the likes of Elton John, Janet Jackson, and U2, “Love The Way You Lie” also stars actors Megan Fox and Dominic Monaghan. With the song’s real-life connection to both Em and RiRi, the video has sparked some debate over it’s depiction of domestic violence and casting of Hollywood eye-candy. However, Kahn says it was his idea to bring in the starring thespians. Continue reading on Vibe.com…

Punk On The Rocks: Q&A with Andrew W.K.

Another summer comes to an end, and so does another Vans Warped Tour. This summer’s tour featured one of the better lineups of recent years, including Alkaline Trio, Bouncing Souls, Dropkick Murphys, Riverboat Gamblers, Reel Big Fish, Me Talk Pretty, The Mighty Regis and more. While there are those who argue that Warped has lost its edge, the tour has found itself a champion in the prince of partying, Andrew W.K. OurStage’s Jay Schneider sat down with AWK to talk about why the Warped Tour is a great experience for both artists and fans and what we can expect from him in 2011 (hint: it involves partying).

When Andrew W.K. speaks, we listen

OS: It’s been years since you’ve been on the tour, right?

AWK: Seven years. The last we did every date on the tour was 2003.

OS: So what’s it like getting back into the Warped “vibe”?

AWK: Well it’s just fantastic to be on a tour that has this much impact; that has this much reach across North America. It has a legacy and a tradition of high quality vibes. Really it’s the mood of this place that’s its biggest achievement. Not only does this entire team of people do this every day in each town, but more than just putting up the stages and organizing the port-a-potties and all the day-to-day work, they are manifesting an attitude; an atmosphere of good vibes, literally, through their mood. That is the most powerful and important contribution that Warped Tour has made to American touring, or just touring in general.

People are open-minded. They’re friendly. They’re kind. They’re hard-working. They don’t complain. It’s just an incredible example of a leader, the creator Kevin Lyman, having such powerful leadership skills, that his mindset of “suck it up, enjoy yourself, work hard and let’s make the most of this day” has carried over even to the audience, the local crew (even the people that don’t work with him every day). Everyone feels that atmosphere. That’s the most delicate and difficult, yet powerful accomplishment to have in any project you’re working on.

OS: Going along with that same concept, bands always talk about the “community” aspect of Warped Tour. It seems to be a “summer camp” of sorts. How has that experience been for you behind the scenes?

First of all, that’s absolutely true. There is a fantastic sense of friendship and kindness backstage, beyond a doubt: a sense of trust, a sense of loyalty. Not to the bands themselves, but to the cause of spreading joy on this tour. Beyond that, your comparison to a summer camp is very, very good actually. I was always terrified of summer camp. If someone said, “Here are some different ways you can spend your time: Going to summer camp, drawing in your room or running around outside,” summer camp probably would have been the last thing on my list.

Interacting with people has always been very intense for me. That’s why I decided to start partying professionally, because it would give me a reason to go out and do something that otherwise I was overwhelmed about or scared of…that idea of hanging out with a bunch of people casually—I never could do it…

It’s not social anxiety. There are people that have that. That’s a real serious condition—agoraphobia, fear of crowds, fear of meeting new people, things like that. No, I’ve just had a general shyness. I just always follow my instincts and try to do what feels right. Standing around and talking with people I haven’t met has always been very strange for me…But, this a great place for me to face those fears.

OS: You have a following of “Andrew W.K.” fans that follow your whole “party” mentality. You’ve set up the “Party House Tent” this year on the tour.

AWK: Yes.

OS: So what kind of interactions have you been getting with kids coming out to that tent?

AWK: This goes exactly back to what we were talking about in terms of that social interaction. In the old days, I was terrified to meet any one person. I would never try to hang out with more than my closest friends, because I was just terrified of the world around me. So I had to find a “cause” that would force me out of my comfort zone, force me to have a motivation. Something to work for, something to go after. So, this idea of “partying” is really what happened. So, any place that I can just create that “official”, designated spot, and really push forward this idea of celebration and partying helps me, and helps the cause.

The“Party House”, which is our tent, is a 20×20 ft tent or 40×20 ft tent, depending on how much room we have. It’s a massive space to come and hang out. The one thing I learned from the last time at the Warped Tour—and this goes back to what you were asking earlier—hanging out backstage is a very fun and very valid way to spend your day.  Since we only play for 35-40 minutes, the rest of the day really is open. Now, we can do interviews like this, which are fantastic. That is why I’m here. This is a fantastic opportunity to meet you and say hello to folks that are interested in having a chat. Other than that, to me the most valuable thing is to go out and spend time with the people who came this one day to be a part of this festival. This festival is a celebration. This is a party. So if I can have a spot to go and meet folks and thank them for being part of this and supporting this cause of fun, celebration and joy. When you join our mission of “partying”, I owe you my thanks. That’s what it’s about. So to me, that’s the atmosphere that I’m most excited about with Warped Tour. That’s the thing that makes it so fantastic. They’ve created such a place where you can meet people and have fun with them.

OS: In terms of your career and this professional “persona” you’ve created to party, where are you going from here? What are the plans moving forward?

AWK: In a way, it feels like a new beginning. In 2005 for a lot of business and personal reasons, things in my life just turned around in strange ways. But, I would not have it any other way at this point. So many new opportunities opened up from 2005 until now. The beautiful thing is that all the issues, all the complications that we were dealing with for those 5 years have now resolved. 2010 was the year of resolution. The universe aligned itself. We’re back and the party is stronger than ever. I feel like it’s a new beginning, a comeback of sorts for the cause, the idea of “enjoying your life”. The positive power of partying is here and it’s getting bigger.

I’ll continue with my full band—my full band is back together after 5 years—doing nationwide tours. We’re going to continue doing that into 2011. New album in 2011, we hope to start recording that as soon as we get off of Warped Tour. I’m also working on a book. I’ve been working on a book for quite some time, but now it seems like it’s the time to do it. We’ve got all these contracts in place. It’s really about contracts. Once you get contracts aligned, really you can do whatever you want. But, if the contracts aren’t there then you can’t really do much. So that’s where we stand.

So come by the Party House Tent. New album, the book, Andrewwk.com has got it all laid out. We actually have a new store there. We’ve got party gear, party wear. The point of this all is to spread joy, and if you can do that in your life then you’re already partying. Spread joy to other people, starting with yourself most importantly. Just party hard! Have fun!

Check out Andrew W.K. website to stay tuned for the new album and his new book. Be sure to catch Warped Tour next year to experience the party for yourself.

 


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