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Artist Followup: Hometown Heroes Open For The Goo Goo Dolls

In October, Tulsa, Oklahoma pop-rockers Stars Go Dim won the Grand Prize in the Subway “Fresh Artists” Competition with their song “Get Over It,” which awarded the band the incredible opportunity to open for The Goo Goo Dolls at the Star 103.3 Jingle Ball in San Francisco, CA on December 10, 2010.  In addition to the to the performance, SGD will also receive $1,000 cash and a songwriting session with professional songwriter Evan Bogart, famous for writing hits for artists the likes of Beyoncé, Britney Spears and Adam Lambert! The guys in the band got the incredible opportunity to meet the members of the Goo Goo Dolls, as well as share the bill with Hedley and former American Idol winner Kris Allen. Leading up to the show, the band was featured and interviewed on Tulsa’s rock radio station KMOD, which also broadcast their winning single “Get Over It”  to thousands of listeners. The band later performed at a local Subway in their hometown, drawing a crowd of dedicated local followers.  We caught up with Michael Wittig, bassist for Stars Go Dim, after the show to hear all about their experience.

OS: How did your performance go? What kind of  increased buzz have you guys seen up to and after the show?

MW: Our performance at the Star 101.3 Jingle Ball with the Goo Goo Dolls and Kris Allen went awesome.  We’ve been told we played very well. I don’t know about the other guys, but I rocked the bass that night, ha.

OS: How did the audience respond to your set?

MW: The crowd was very receptive and showed it spending their hard earned money on us after the show. I was surprised by the amount of CDs/shirts we sold. We took pictures with some of them after the show and have kept in touch with some via Facebook since the show.

OS: How did it feel to have the opportunity to open for the Goo Goo Dolls? Did you get to meet them?

MW: We were very excited about the whole thing. The Goo Goo Dolls have had so many hits and great songs. We did get to meet them. They set up a private meeting for us with them and had a photoshoot. The guys were very friendly and encouraging. John even gave us a shout out on stage during their set.

OS: How did you get your fans to come and judge in the competition?

MW: We asked them very nicely :) Many of our fans have become good friends of ours. We made sure that a handful of them were able to attend the show on us. And when that doesn’t work blackmailing sometimes helps get those extra votes.

OS: What do you think is the most important way to market yourself as a band?

MW: Be personable with fans and give them your time. You just might get their time in return and win huge contests like this. Oh, having good quality music helps too!

OS: How do you plan to use this opportunity to further your career?

MW: Every time something great like this happens, it just helps build our story. Not many independent artists can say they’ve played with John Mayer, Chris Daughtry, Jason DeRülo and now the Goo Goo Dolls. Being able to add this to our history just makes it easier to land new opportunities. Being a part of events like this opens doors.

OS: What has been the most exciting aspect of this whole experience?

MW: Being recognized by Clear Channel and the Goo Goo Dolls out of so many other great artists. Also, getting to meet and watch the Goo Goo Dolls perform. It was pretty cool to watch them play “Name” and their other hits live. We travel so much we don’t really get a chance to “attend” concerts for fun. We definitely look up to them and their songwriting.

Stars Go Dim is scheduled to be interviewed by local radio stations in and around their hometown in the coming weeks, and their story has been picked up by a local paper who will cover their entire experience in the Subway “Fresh Artists” Competition from start to finish. Stay tuned to the airwaves for word from this up-and-coming band. Click below to check out the video of the band’s meet and greet with the Goo Goo Dolls.

The EP Effect: Ke$ha, Taylor Swift and Adam Lambert Mine Platinum In Under 10 Songs

They don’t make albums like they used to. These days, acts like Lady Gaga, Michael Bublé and  the cast of Glee are keeping it short and cheap with the EP— an “extended play” release that generally features under ten songs for under $10. Sure the full-length, full-price set is alive, if not altogether well, but lately the EP is giving it a run for its online retail money.

Leading the parade of EP-embracing pop stars is Sweden’s Robyn. Rather than following up her 2005 self-titled international breakthrough with a proper album, Robyn released three Body Talk EPs over the course of five months this year. Five tracks from each EP appear on her fifth full-length album, also called Body Talk, which hit stores on November 22nd. Twelve days earlier, another buzzed-about Swedish act, the Radio Dept. released their eleventh EP, Never Follow Suit.

Last year, fellow Canucks Justin Bieber and Drake both preceded their platinum 2010 full-length debuts with successful EPs, and Lady Gaga released The Fame Monster as an addendum to The Fame — a stand-alone set. Not only did it go platinum and launch three Top 10 singles on Billboard’s Hot 100, but it just received a Grammy nomination for Album of the Year (possibly an EP first). More recently, Usher’s Raymond v. Raymond EP spin-off, Versus, went Top 10, as did Michael Bublé’s Crazy Love offshot, Hollywood: The Deluxe EP. Ke$ha‘s Animal sequel and/or companion piece, Cannibal, came out on November 22nd,  followed by Adam Lambert‘s Acoustic Live! EP which arrived this week. Ke$ha’s Cannibal was the first of the recent flood of EPs to spawn a No. 1 single: the one-week wonder “We R Who We R.”

Of course, where there’s a music trend, Glee soon follows. There’ve been three Glee EPs so far, including Glee: The Music, The Power of Madonna, which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 album chart last spring.

This holiday season, Michael Bublé, Lady Antebellum and Taylor Swift all have Top 40 Christmas EPs, as does America’s Got Talent‘s 10-year-old opera-singing sensation Jackie Evancho. O Holy Night, her four-song EP (with a bonus DVD) entered Billboard’s album chart at No. 2, with first-week sales of 239,000, beating out new albums by multi-platinum superstars Rihanna, Josh Groban, Kid Rock, Rascal Flatts and Keith Urban. The lower retail list price ($8) helped, but EPs are cheaper to produce and usually aren’t marketed as heavily —or expensively — as regular albums, which in recent years have been producing significantly diminished returns on a still-costly investment. When the contents of EPs are mostly live tracks or leftovers from the studio sessions for the preceding album, artists and record labels can reap financial benefits from them with minimized overhead cost.

One already noticeable effect of the EP explosion is that full-length albums (in their original state, minus iTunes, deluxe-edition and Japanese-version extras) are getting shorter. Gone, for the most part, are those marathon seventeen-song sets, padded with filler just so fans can feel like they are getting a lof for their money. More pop stars are wrapping it up after ten to thirteen tracks. The official version of Susan Boyle’s The Gift features ten, while Rihanna’s Loud has eleven, which is the same length as Live It Up, the debut album from American Idol season-nine champ Lee DeWyze. Christina Aguilera and Cher’s Burlesque soundtrack is a concise ten songs (compared to Aguilera’s eighteen-track Bionic from June), as is Duffy’s just-released sophomore set, Endlessly.

Expect the lines between EPs and regular albums to become more blurred in the future, to the point where it’s hard to tell them apart. Fans may end up getting fewer songs per release, but for artists looking to make an easier buck while keeping new music on the radio (or elsewhere) less is going to be so much more.

By Jeremy Helligar

Jeremy Helligar is a former staff writer for People, Teen People, Us Weekly and Entertainment Weekly, who now writes about celebrities and pop culture from his couch in Buenos Aires.

Discourse & Dischord

The Good

Ke$ha reveals the origin of her moniker

The dollar sign in place of an “s” is lame—we all know that. But guys, it isn’t Ke$ha’s fault! She used to spell her name like any other normal person named Kesha. But then, this thing happened … watch the Funny Or Die clip below to see where it all went wrong.

Beatles catalog is finally available on iTunes

The long and winding road that separated EMI Group, Ltd from Apple has come to an end, meaning Beatles fans can now download the entire canon on iTunes. So what’s the most downloaded track in the three days since the songs have been available? Depends on where you are in the world. If you’re here in the US, it’s “Here Comes the Sun,” “Let It Be” and “In My Life.” We are a sentimental lot, we are.

The Bad

Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey are engaged!

True story: Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey are getting married! But before you dust off your DVD of Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica and crack open some champagne in celebration, you should know that they’re marrying other people this time. Nick announced his engagement to Vanessa Minnillo this week, and Jessica announced her betrothal to Eric Johnson a couple days later. AND THEN, Prince William announced his engagement to Kate Middleton. Why can’t Prince William let Jessica have her moment?!?

The Ugly

Nick Cave curses out smoke machine operator at Grinderman’s in NYC

Specifically, he said, “Could you stop pouring smoke out of that f—ing machine, please?” Both the smoke machine and the smoke machine operator then shrunk away to go die quietly in a corner.

Billy Corgan disses Pavement

Billy Corgan vacillates between being a beacon of lightness and a total sourpuss. Today on Twitter he channeled the latter, releasing a series of tweets bemoaning the fact that Pavement would open for Smashing Pumpkins in Brazil. “…They represent the death of the alternative dream, and we follow with the affirmation of life part,” he complained. Dude, you have a song called “Drown”—that’s hardly life-affirming.

Miscellany

Discourse & Dischord

The Good

The National win best album at Q Awards

This week Q Magazine’s Q Awards took place, bringing together some of the biggest names in music. Winners included Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine for Best Female, Paolo Nutini for Best Male, and Mumford & Sons for Best New Act. The National beat the likes of Green Day, Arcade Fire, Kings of Leon and Muse for the highest honor of Best Album for High Violet. Check out the full list of winners here.

Katy Perry gets hitched

Katy Perry and Russell Brand got married in a lavish ceremony on a wildlife reserve in India this past weekend. Bo-ring!

The Bad

Bon Jovi neighbor pens apology letter

“Dear Bon Jovi,

I’m sorry for throwing empty beer cans on your lawn.”

So begins a grand apology by a 17-year-old neighbor of Jon Bon Jovi, posted to TheAwl.com. So what possessed a teenage boy to vandalize the lawn of New Jersey’s favorite son? Bad lyrics, apparently. Read the letter in its entirety here—it’s funny stuff.

T.I. changes album title

Now that T.I. is facing 11 months in jail for violating his probation, his album name, King Uncaged doesn’t make much sense. This week the rapper announced that the new title will be No Mercy. Still no word on a release date … for the album … not T.I.

The Ugly

Alice Cooper loses blood and other stuff on flight to UK

Don’t you just hate it when the airline loses your fake blood, skulls and plastic bats? Oh, that’s right, you’re not Alice Cooper. The ghoulish rocker was en route to a Halloween show in London when he discovered his luggage had been misplaced, and with it, all sorts of props for his show. Cooper was not happy, nor should he be. Oversized syringes and skeleton arms don’t grow on trees.

Taylor Momsen flashes audience at New York show

Is there anyone, ANYONE, more desperate to be seen as a bad girl than Taylor Momsen? The dead hooker makeup, the underage smoking, the torn fishnets, the apathetic gaze, the pointless trash talking—it’s like a 17-year-old pretending to be Courtney Love for Halloween. The Pretty Reckless singer borrowed another move from the bad girl playbook this week when she flashed a crowd during a performance, revealing taped nipples a la Wendy O. Williams. Yawn. Julia Roberts’ performance in Pretty Woman was more shocking. Sorry Miss Momsen, you’re not bad, just unoriginal.

Miscellany

Discourse & Dischord

The Good

T.I. helps talk down jumper in Atlanta

T.I.

T.I.’s getting a head start on the community service he may face for his parole violation last month. The rapper helped police talk down a suicidal jumper from a 22-story high rise in Atlanta on Monday afternoon, arriving on the scene after hearing about the incident on the radio. Using his gift of persuasion (and rhyming?), the rapper was able to coax the man down, who was then taken to the hospital. Moral of the story: Great things can happen when you put down the sizzurp.

American Music Awards nominations announced

Eminem

Slim Shady is poised come home with more trophies than Lady Gaga at this year’s AMAs. Eminem is nominated for five awards along with country act Lady Antebellum. Lady Gaga will have to make do with her Artist of the Year and Best Female Artist nominations. And we will have to make do with our nomination for nothing.

Help determine who will be the winner by casting your vote here:

The Bad

Adam Lambert’s Malaysian concert protested

Adam Lambert

He kissed a boy, and he liked it … but Malaysia didn’t. Pop star Adam Lambert has been asked to alter the content of his upcoming performance in Malaysia amid protests from the Pan Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS), who claimed the show promotes a “gay lifestyle.” Lambert responded to that claim via Twitter, saying, “Does my show ‘promote the gay lifestyle’? It promotes living ANY lifestyle that includes the freedom to seek love and intimacy. Gay, straight, bi, young or old. It’s all inclusive.” That said, Lambert promised to put his lips on lockdown for the show.

The Ugly

Die Antwoord versus Bristol Palin

In one corner we have South African freak rappers Die Antwoord and their new video for “Evil Boy.” In the other, Bristol Palin in a video by Alaskan hard rock group Static Cycle. What’s creepier—an albino girl in a cloak of rats, or Bristol Palin dressed like a Russian pretending to be Mother Nature? You tell us.

Miscellany

Viewer Discretion Advised: “Mocking” The Video

It’s important to keep a sense of humor when dabbling in the deep dark depths of music-related video content. In an age where producing a music video can sometimes resemble the set of a Tom Cruise movie (remember MTV’s Making The Video) we sometimes have to bring these heavyweights back down to Earth. Luckily, the funny guys and girls of Key of Awesome have gotten off to a pretty good start.

Key of Awesome is a weekly musical web comedy show that spoofs our favorite artists and celebrities. No one within the pop-culture realm is safe. The web series is produced by Next New Network‘s Barely Digital, an online video site launched in 2009 that strictly satires the technologies we all know and love so well. Barely Digital in itself is actually a spin off of the NNN’s Barely Political Channel, which is responsible for 2008′s viral sensation—17 million YouTube hits strong—”Crush On Obama.”

Just this past January, Weezer paired up with Key of Awesome to scour the Internet for the funniest (web) music videos of 2009 that mocked or parodied a current music video. Winners Rhett and Link won a cameo in Weezer’s video for “I Want You To” thanks to their submission “Fast Food Folk Song“. In their video they poke fun at the drive-thru raps in commercials by singing their order at a Taco Bell drive-thru. And despite the almost 3 minute song naming off multiple fast food Mexican snacks, the Taco Bell employee totally nails the order. We highly recommend you check it out.

But we digress. Like we said, no one is safe from the clutches of Key of Awesome. They’ve parodied everyone from Metallica to Adam Lambert to Lady Gaga. So it comes as no surprise that their latest victim is none other than tween/web/soccer mom sensation Justin Bieber. “Lil Wayne” even makes a spoof-tastic cameo from behind bars. Check it out below!

Under Supervision: Music To Watch in 2010

OSBlog02_UnderSuperv_MASTER_01January 1, 2010 signaled the beginning of a new year, a new decade and, for movie fans, another step closer to the release dates of several highly anticipated films. This year many artists are making their mark on the big screen by contributing their music to movie soundtracks in ways that both are completely expected and a bit of a surprise.

The upcoming Tim Burton adaptation of the Lewis Carroll classic Alice in Wonderland is, of course, highly anticipated.  But perhaps more anticipated then the film is the collaboration of Blink-182’s Mark Hoppus and Fall Out Boy’s Pete Wentz as they come together to produce a song for the movie.  Pete has been quoted saying the sound is unlike anything Blink or FOB have done before, so hopefully that’s a good thing.  Also to be included in the soundtrack are All Time Low, Owl City, Robert Smith from The Cure and Franz Ferdinand.  Avril Lavigne will have a new song on the soundtrack as well.  With these pop artists creating the music for the film, the adaptation should sound as thrilling as it looks.

Continue reading ‘Under Supervision: Music To Watch in 2010′

HOW TO WORK WITH A PRODUCER

OSBlog_HowTo_WorkProducerNow that you’ve written all the material for your new album, the hard part’s over, right? Eh, maybe not. The recording process can be a long, strange trip, but the best way to avoid speed bumps along the way is to lock in with the right producer at the start. You’ll want one who’s intuitively able to understand what you mean when you say, “I’d like the vocals to sound like a really rusty robot crying through a megaphone.” One who can pull your best performance out of you without alienating you in the process. One who partners with you and commits to your vision as if it were his or her own. Here are some tips to help you find “the one” and optimize the production experience:

•   Make sure he/she is the right fit. Love the new Adam Lambert or Jay-Z record? Research the producer. Familiarize yourself with that producer’s previous work and decide if it’s the right production style for you.

•    Get a sense of commitment from him/her. How much studio time can you expect on a weekly basis? What will the turnaround time be like for mixing? If you’ve got an album release deadline, you’ll want these questions answered before you partner with that producer.

•    Schedule plenty of time for pre-production. Pre-production will help ensure you’re on the same page with the producer. That includes familiarizing him/her with your songs, going over arrangements and production ideas, and introducing him/her to records with production that you admire.

•    Know when to let go of your own judgments and trust their vision. As much as you may want to micromanage the process, it’s important to give your producer some breathing room. Suspension of disbelief on your part may lead to some really great ideas that will strengthen your record. Sometimes it takes a village.

•    Know when to fight for your own vision. At the end of the day, this is something you have to sign your name to. So it’s critical that the work on your record really represent you as an artist. If the producer is leading you down a path that doesn’t feel true to you, then it’s your responsibility to speak up.

•   Check your ego at the door. If your producer comments how the transition between the chorus and the bridge is a little bumpy, and your response is to throw your guitar at the wall and scream, “I hate you!” then you’re doing a real disservice to your record and to yourself. Don’t take critiques personally. Remember, you’re a team working towards a common goal; world domination. So lose the ‘tude, dude.

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TALENT, COMPETITION, AND SCANDAL: AMERICAN IDOL IN ITS FINAL WEEKS

The events of this coming week on American Idol will determine which two contestants go head-to-head for the big win. Just a few days ago we said goodbye to 16 year old Allison Iraheta, who was the last girl left in the competition. Though going home a runner-up on the show doesn’t mean the end of a singing career, it’s no secret that everyone’s going for the gold. Right now we’re down to three very different guys, each with their own appeal and style:

Danny Gokey

danny-gokey-b1He’s adorable, he’s friendly, and he’s got a compelling backstory. This 28 year old has been a fan favorite since day 1, with undeniably solid talent that made him stand out from the crowd during his Milwaukee, Wisconsin audition. Very tragically, Danny’s wife passed away not too long ago. His early interviews on the show were frequently interrupted by emotion as he explained how he had decided to go on with his audition in her memory.

Danny always seems shocked and humbled to be doing so well on the show. He’s been labeled by some as the “good Christian boy,” a music minister involved with Faith Builders International. (Yeah, that’s him on the homepage.) Recently there has been a sort of mini-scandal, fueled mainly by a couple of internet sources, over Danny’s… eyewear? Honestly, if the worst debate critics can start is whether or not you might be secretly working for LensCrafters, you don’t have too much to worry about.

Adam Lambert

adam-lambertIt comes as no shock whatsoever that Adam Lambert has made it this far. A 26 year old Hollywood native, Adam is no stranger to the stage. He’s been singing and acting his whole life; you might be able to tell by his killer stage presence and unbelievable vocal range. This guy’s got PIPES! Week after week it seems like the judges just can’t get enough of his flashy performances and huge notes.

During the show’s first weeks, Adam was just the colorful contestant wearing the guyliner and skinny jeans. As always, of course, with increased interest in his talent comes increased interest in his personal life. Adam has become this season’s ambiguous intrigue, with fans and non-fans alike speculating, “Is he gay?” (He lists Freddie Mercury as a favorite singer!) “Or is he just well-dressed and extremely colorful?” (He also lists Lenny Kravitz!) Whatever the case, everyone will forget they cared (if they really do) in a few weeks when Adam is the new American Idol or a close runner-up.

Kris Allen

kris-allen3Kris Allen has a tough road ahead of him over the coming week, given the dubious honor of competing with the two people everyone always suspected would make it to the end. Perhaps it’s a blessing: the expectations aren’t on him to take it all. That means less pressure, and that can mean an even better performance. Since it’s all about the votes at this point, Kris might just pull through to be the true “dark horse” of the competition. He’s the youngest of the remaining contestants, a 23 year old from Conway, Arkansas.

Kris Allen doesn’t have any scandals attached to his name. Some might say that means that the public is less interested in him, but it also means that he hasn’t already been labeled as one thing or another. No one thinks they have Kris all figured out. We’ll have to leave it up to his performances this week to determine his fate on the show.

Don’t miss this week’s episodes of American Idol, Tuesday at 8/7c and Wednesday at 9/8c on Fox. Tickets are on sale now for the 2009 American Idol Tour happening this summer.

 


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