Changes to the monthly competitions

Hi and welcome back to Amazing OurStage. We want to let you know that there will be changes to the prizes we are offering. Every month will be different.
This month we are awarding prizes of $100 to winners of the competition finals. In the future there will be prizes to help your musical career. Check back to find out.

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Come back to see the improvements to OurStage over the next few months.

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Machine Gun Kelly, (Flash) Mobster

Social media is incredibly powerful. In Egypt, Facebook was used to help topple a totalitarian regime. Flickr has been an effective tool for UK police in tracking down and apprehending looters during the recent riots. And here in America, Twitter’s primary function has been used to bring the ruckus. Electronic producer Kaskade accidentally incited a small riot in downtown Los Angeles with a single tweet. And we all saw what happened when rapper The Game grappled directly with the LAPD over the Internets.

Rapper Machine Gun Kelly must’ve been taking notes from Kaskade when he pulled off a mini-riot of his own, this one a flash mob of the Ohio-based rapper’s fans. Kelly wanted to do something a little special to mark his return to his beloved Cleveland. Over the course of a day’s worth of tweets, Kelly instructed his fans not to do anything until they heard “Cleveland” and to prepare for the event by wearing their best “#powerRAGER” outfits. You can see the flash mob in it’s entirety below.

So another flash mob in the books, guys. For his trouble, Kelly gets cuffed, slapped with a $230 fine and a ton of free publicity. It also allowed a young man who looks like this to come off as somewhat threatening.

Continue reading ‘Machine Gun Kelly, (Flash) Mobster’

Q&A With Jim Henke, Vice President of Exhibitions and Curatorial Affairs at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

Located in downtown Cleveland, Ohio, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, Inc. is home to an invaluable collection of information and artifacts from the world’s greatest rock artists. The nonprofit organization also exists as an educational institution to help teach music enthusiats of all ages.

In January of 2012, the Hall of Fame will be opening a brand new Library and Archives, which will be the world’s most comprehensive collection of documents, music and videos relating to rock music. We had the opportunity to speak with Jim Henke, Vice President of Exhibitions and Curatorial Affairs, to hear all about this incredible new building, as well as the amazing artifacts and educational opportunities at the Hall of Fame.

OS: What do you take into consideration when nominating artists for induction into the Hall of Fame?

JH: The only real rule is that they become eligible 25 years after the release of their first recording. From there, we try to take into account things like the longevity of their career, the impact they had on other artists, innovation, superiority in their style and technique and musical excellence. It’s not based on record sales, it’s basically based on how important of an artist they were and the quality of their body of work.

OS: How typically does the museum procure for its rare memorabilia collection? From private collections? Estates?

The exterior of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

JH: Most of the stuff we have comes directly from the artists and their families or their managers. It varies, but I’d say that 25% of what we have on exhibit here comes from the artists, their families or people who are associated with them. For example, right now, we have an exhibit on Bruce Springsteen. Most of the items came from Bruce directly, but there were a couple collectors out there who had fairly decent collections, so we also borrowed some pieces from them to fill in some of the holes.

OS: What should we expect to see in the new archive/library?

JH: It’s going to operate on two levels. One level will be more of a normal library that the general public can go into, where we’ll have books, magazines, periodicals. People will also be able to access music over the computers, and we’ll also have a lot of videos. The museum itself has been open for fifteen years and we’ve done a lot of events here, and virtually all of them have been filmed. We do a program every year called American Music Masters, where we honor one of our inductees with a week-long series of events and various performances. We’ve done maybe ten of those and we filmed all of them, but that footage has never been available. We also have a program called The Hall of Fame Serieswhere we bring in the inductees and we’ll interview them and often they’ll perform. The archive part of it will be more for students, scholars, historians and journalists. You’ll make an appointment to come in and we’ll have certain collections from various people and it’s their private papers…it could be contracts, correspondence, set lists, manuscripts. So, if someone’s writing a book or if someone’s doing a thesis, they’ll have a private room with an archivist and they’ll be able to go through these people’s papers.

OS: Why, now, is the library starting this archive?

JH: We talked about having a library and archive ever since before we opened and originally it was going to be here at the museum, but we never had quite the proper space. But it’s always been something that’s been on our radar, and we’ve always wanted something where we could preserve the history of rock and roll and allow historians and scholars access to stuff. We looked at other places in the Cleveland area…and there’s a college here called Cuyahoga Community College. Their president has been on our board since day one and has been very active. They also have a program called Recording Arts and Technology and a music production program. It turns out they were building a new building for that program, so their president thought they could build a larger building and we could put our library in there. The building’s complete and we have staff in there now and they’re cataloging everything. It won’t be open to the public until sometime next year, but we’re getting everything up and running.

A look inside the Bruce Springsteen exhibit, on display until February 27, 2011

OS: The Hall has a lot of different educational programs, particularly in classroom settings. How are the topics for classes determined?

JH: We have a program called “Toddler Rock” that’s open to preschool kids. They come in and we use music to teach them, the alphabet and counting. Then we have a program called “Rockin’ the Schools,” which is [offered to students in] kindergarten through twelfth grade. Those classes are taught here at the museum in our theater upstairs. Basically, we take rock and roll and try to use it to each about other things. For our first grade to fourth grade kids, we have a class called “Tell Me Something Good: Music and the Language Arts.” They listen to music and hear some of the stories and they examine how lyrics can establish setting, introduce characters, develop plot and narrative. We have another class called “Rock and Roll and the Science of Sound” and that’s for grades five through eight…it looks more at the audio aspect of rock and roll and how sound travels into our ears. We have another class called “The Message: The Birth of Hip Hop Culture,” which talks about hip hop and what was going on in our culture when hip hop was developing back in the ’70s. We try to go beyond music and talk about sociology or mathematics or science. We also have a distance learning program called “On the Road,” where we use interactive video conferencing technology to go into schools all across the country. We also do college-level classes.

OS: How will the Archive factor into the educational initiatives?

JM: With the kinds of things we’ll have there and having these very personal papers from a lot of people, one of the things we talked about was doing academic conferences and maybe tying it back to an exhibit. It will definitely help us to expand our educational offerings.

OS: What are some of the more interesting,  rare and noteworthy acquisitions you’ve procured?

One of the museum's most impressive items: John Lennon's Sgt. Pepper uniform

JH: We have a great collection from Jim Morrison’s parents. It turns out that they kept every piece of paper related to his life, from the hospital bill from when his mother gave birth to him to virtually all of his school report cards. In an interview for Rolling Stone back in the 6’0s, they asked him what the first poem he ever wrote was, and he said it was called “The Pony Express”…they [his parents] actually had his hand written manuscript of that. So that’s one of our great collections because it really is very thorough. It goes through his college years and formation of  The Doors, Jim had a falling out with his father and when he was arrested for allegedly exposing himself on stage down in Florida, the probation officer down there wrote his father a letter, asking what Jim’s shape was. Jim’s father wrote back this really sad letter about how he hadn’t talked to his son in many years. So there’s this gap through part of The Doors’ years and there’s letters between his father and different legal officials, and then there’s the official announcement from the American embassy in France that he had died. That’s a really nice collection. Yoko Ono has been very good to the museum, we have a great representation of John Lennon. We have a Sgt. Pepper uniform, a lot of his handwritten lyrics, report cards, different correspondence, a couple of his guitars. Similarly, we have a very good relationship with Jimi Hendrix‘s estate. As a young man, he was interested in becoming an artist, so we have all these different paintings that he did when he was younger. It’s interesting because there are a couple of rock band pictures, but there are also a lot of sports drawings that he did. You don’t really think of Jimi Hendrix as being a football fan but he did these different drawings of football players. We have a great collection from U2 that goes back to record company rejection letters, when they were first sending around their demo tapes…those are funny. We have some correspondence between the different band members and some lyrics manuscripts, some guitars and stage outfits. There’s pretty much something for everyone, no matter what your tastes are. We have sections that deal with the roots of rock and roll, the blues and rhythm and blues and gospel and country and folk. We have another section that looks at different cities and the history of rock and roll. It starts with Memphis in the ’50s and then includes Detroit during the Motown years and San Francisco during the psychedelic era and Los Angeles during the singer/songwriter country rock era and it ends in Seattle during grunge. There’s a lot of stuff here!

OS: The new library is already garnering some notable media coverage. What do you hope it will do for the Rock  & Roll Hall of Fame’s already renowned collection?

JH: I think it expands what we’re looking for and the fact that we’re actively out collecting for the library and archives. We’re going to musicians and producers and people in the music business, trying to get their papers. I think it will deepen our collection and broaden the extent of what it is. We’ll have many more documents to show how a lot of the music developed.

Check out the video below to watch Dave Grohl and Taylor Hawkins induct Queen into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001!

Will the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s Class of 2011 Right Old Wrongs Or Make New Ones?

Another year, another batch of deserving, long-overdue and not-so-worthy nominees for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. This cycle, the biggest mystery doesn’t involve the ones they omitted but the legend they finally got around to recognizing. After 22 years of eligibility, Neil Diamond made the short list for the first time.

What took them so long?

Steely Dan, John Mellencamp and ZZ Top—great acts all and all short of legendary— already have secured their Hall of Fame spots, and the powers that be in Cleveland are just getting around to noticing the glaring absence of Diamond? I love the video for “Legs” as much as any child of the ’80s, but in what universe does the ZZ Top songbook hold up to that of the guy who wrote such classics as “I’m a Believer,” “Girl, You’ll Be a Woman Soon” and “Red Red Wine”?

As for his fellow first-time nominee Bon Jovi (Alice Cooper, Donovan and Dr. John also made their short list debuts), sure they had a lot of hits and continue to sell respectably, but have they influenced any kid with a guitar and a song in his (or her) heart since hair metal went out of fashion? Oh, and where are the nods for Electric Light Orchestra and Roxy Music, a band that helped define ’70s glam rock while paving the way for the New Romantic movement led by super ’80s groups like Spandau Ballet and Duran Duran?

Did the ELO and Roxy nods go to LL Cool J, a surprise nominee (to me) who is barely in his 40s? He started out with a big bang in the mid ’80s for sure, and he was rap’s first solo star, but the quality of his output went into steep decline after “Mama Said Knock You Out,” as he became more hitmaker than visionary. Now he seems to have set aside his creative pretensions in favor of a comfortable middle age on prime-time TV as the star of NCIS: Los Angeles. Though he deserves to be demerited for going from gangsta to hack, I’d let him in over Bon Jovi and Donovan, but only if Beastie Boys, nominated for the second time, get in too.

The late Laura Nyro is also a return nominee for inclusion into the (mostly) boys club, and I’d say it’s time to let her in when the Class of 2011 inductees are announced in December and feted at the ceremony next March 14th. Ditto the queen of disco Donna Summer, a second-time nominee. But where pray tell are the nominations for Linda Ronstadt, who helped define mainstream rock in the ’70s and has been eligible since 1994, and Dionne Warwick, a ’60s legend without whom the Burt Bacharach/Hal David songbook might be just another bunch of songs? (Maybe the latter’s psychic friends can look into it.) Dusty Springfield had to die to get in in 1999. Let’s hope the Hall of Fame doesn’t make the same mistake (twice) again.

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.


Announcing The Winners Of The John Mayer Side Stage Warfare Competition For Scranton, Boston, Cleveland, And Indianapolis!

After a long and fierce competition last month, the winners are finally in for the June segment of the John Mayer “Side Stage Warfare” Competition. Some of the best acts from the Pop, Indie Pop, and Singer-Songwriter Male and Female Channels came together to duke it out for a chance at the spotlight.

The Top 20 finalists were assembled and narrowed down to just four winners, one act for each city.  The final four will get the opportunity to perform live in front of an audience of thousands and show their hometown how much they can rock. In addition to a spot on the stage, winners will receive free tickets to that night’s show. You can check out the bands below:

Scranton Winner
Sarah Solovay
Boston Winner
Bronze Radio Return
Cleveland Winner
Derren Raser
Indianapolis Winner
The Season

Lilith Local Talent Search Winners Announced For Boston, Cleveland, Detroit, Hartford, New York, Philadelphia and Washington D.C.!

As the West Coast winners tune up and prep their set lists for the massive crowds expected at their respective Lilith 2010 tour stops, another set of winners in the “Lilith Local Talent Search” Competition is ready to be revealed.  With each announcement, the anticipation for this ground-breaking tour becomes greater and greater.  There may be no hope for me, but at least now the artists in Boston, Cleveland, Detroit, Hartford, New York, Philadelphia and Washington D.C. can breathe a little easier!

Lilith Winners
Boston Cleveland Detroit Hartford
Winterbloom Kate Tucker Jetty Rae For the Love of Sloane
New York Philadelphia Washington D.C.
Rosi Golan Joy Ike Corrin Campbell
Due to a touring conflict, Rosi Golan will no longer be performing at Lilith in New York. Danielia Cotton will be taking the stage on July 31.

The Realness

Jahi Music

Accolades come in many shapes and sizes, but in the world of hip-hop, they don’t get much better than an endorsement by Chuck D. So all you rappers out there, pay attention to Jahi Music. According to Public Enemy’s iconic emcee, Jahi is “what’s needed in hip-hop.” And when you listen to his music, you’ll know why. The Cleveland-turned-Oakland rapper doesn’t squander his energy in flashy production – he keeps it simple, allowing his message to become the variable. Soft, symphonic beats, padded scratches and muted jazz textures that nip at the fray set the stage for the real instrument — Jahi’s voice. “Call this my mellow flow, bask in my inner glow,” he raps on “The Realness.” Form follows function; delivering “Vibes that make you dance but wisdom you can use.” And that wisdom includes anything from social commentary on our joyless 9-5 grind (“Cycles of Life”) to celebrations of faith (“Thank God.”) Maybe you’ll dance when the beat rears up, and that’s cool. But what Jahi really wants you to do is listen. So far, we’re all ears.

Liner Notes: Jahi – “The Realness”

One of hip hop’s unsung heroes is OurStage‘s own Alternative Hip Hop Channel stand out, Jahi. The Cleveland MC shrugs off the flash and cash that dominate the mainstream scene, using his music as a way to give back to the community. Not surprisingly, Jahi’s incredible, down-to-earth mentality comes as a breath of fresh air.  With 10 albums under his belt since 2000, Jahi’s hard work and soulful, old school hip hop style has not gone unnoticed he’s shared the stage with hip hop all stars such as Jay-Z, Outkast and Missy Elliott. “The Realness” is a track that best illustrates Jahi’s dedication to his roots. On this week’s Liner Notes, he explains the story behind the song.

Continue reading ‘Liner Notes: Jahi – “The Realness”’

MEET THE WINNERS OF RADIO ONE’S RUSS PARR BUS TOUR CONTEST

Earlier in July, OurStage and Radio One joined forces to find the hottest new talent to open up for the Russ Parr Bus Tour. Thanks to the help of fan judging, the best emerging artists in Hip-Hop and R&B rose to the top and were selected to kick off concerts in select cities. Check out the winning artists and the songs they’ll be performing below!

CaineMoe“Slomoney”

“I can’t believe it! I’m so excited to be part of the tour!” – CaineMoe

August 3rd, Cleveland, OH – Cleveland Music Hall

Mz. Nicky“Caked Up”

August 4th, Dayton, OH – Sinclair Community College

Slick Watts - “Yes We Can”

August 5th, Cincinnati, OH – Music Hall

Lyric“Dolla Bill”

“Thank God, Thank You the fans…to everybody who voted for us, we love Ya’ll”, It’s a honor to be a part of the Russ Bus tour” – Lyric
August 6th, Louisville, KY – International Convention Center

Bradley Russell“Still Go To Church”

August 7th, Washington DC – Warner Theater

Rob Young“I Can’t See You”

August 12th, Raleigh, NC – Dorton Arena

FaT ft. DZK - “Hip Hop”

August 13th, Richmond, VA – Richmond International Raceway

Amaye“Make Up 2 Break Up”

August 14th, Fayetteville, NC – Fayetteville State University

 


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