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.

OurStage is now part of Amazing Media

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

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Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Presenters Announced

Rock-and-Roll-Hall-of-Fame-LogoWe already knew the artists who will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for 2014, but now we know who will be inducting them.

Michael Stipe will induct Nirvana. Makes sense. Kurt Cobain expressed his deep admiration for close friend Stipe on more than one occasion.

Bruce Springsteen will induct his E Street Band. The Boss is already in the Hall solo. No-brainer.

Tom Morello will induct KISS, because someone has to do it.

Chris Martin will consciously couple the Hall of Fame with Peter Gabriel. OK?

Glenn Frey will induct Linda Ronstadt. That’s a good one – the Eagles started out as her backing band.

Questlove will induct Hall and Oates, which is pretty cool. The Roots’ mainman and walking music encyclopedia will hopefully shine a nice light on the often overlooked rock and soul duo.

Peter Asher, of ’60s duo Peter and Gordon, as well as a noted producer (of James Taylor, among others), will induct Beatles manager Brian Epstein and Rolling Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham.

Salman Rushdie will induct Cat Stevens. No, I’m kidding, no word yet on who has that honor.

The ceremony will take place on April 10th and will be aired on HBO on May 31st. (h/t CoS)

Questlove Claims Justin Timberlake Will Release A ’20/20 Experience’ Sequel In November

Questlove may not be the first person you think of when considering sources of major music rumors, but this morning The Roots’ drummer finds himself in the limelight after possibly leaking details about Justin Timberlake’s next release. No, not The 20/20 Experience, which arrives in stores Tuesday, we’re talking about the one after that. Continue reading ‘Questlove Claims Justin Timberlake Will Release A ’20/20 Experience’ Sequel In November’

Justin Timberlake To Perform Solo For First Time In Four Years

After a four-year-long absence from solo performance, Justin Timberlake will finally take the stage this February 2 at a charity concert in New Orleans to benefit Shriners Hospitals for Children. The invitation-only ”DirecTV Super Saturday Night” concert will also feature DJing from The Roots drummer ?uestlove. For those who were invited to catch this prime lineup, it’s going to be a pretty awesome weekend; Super Bowl XLVII will be taking place the following day in New Orleans at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

Earlier this month, Timberlake premiered “Suit & Tie,” the latest single from his forthcoming solo album The 20/20 Experience, the singer’s first solo outing since 2006′s FutureSex/LoveSounds. Check out the brand new lyric video for “Suit & Tie” here.

Check out OurStage artist Cameron Jaymes if you’re a fan of JT.

More like this:

?uestlove Annonuces Relaunch Of Okayplayer Imprint

?uestlove is injecting some swagger back into the music industry.

The Roots drummer, social media gadfly, and music bon vivant born Ahmir Khalib Thompson announced the return of Okayplayer Records in an exclusive feature with Billboard Magazine.

Okayplayer has existed in one form or another since 1987; the moniker originated from the self-given name of a loose-knit collective of artists that would go on to become The Roots. Since then, Okayplayer has been best known as an online music entity, though the company also dabbles in live events and media production.

News of Okayplayer Records’ relaunch was accompanied with word of some upcoming releases from the label for 2012. Rapper Danny!, who has been working with Okayplayer since 2006, is slated to have his sixth studio album, Payback, come out on September 25th. Payback will mark the end of an eight year gap between releases from Okayplayer.

It was also announced that Young Guru, the studio wiz responsible for engineering ten of Jay-Z’s 11 albums, will be releasing Young Guru: Essentials Vol 1, his all-beats debut album, through Okayplayer as well. Essentials Vol 1 is also the first in a planned series of albums from Young Guru, so fans shouldn’t worry about the lights at the Okayplayer Records offices going out any time soon.

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Winehouse’s Lionness And The Tricky Prospect Of The Posthumous Release

We haven’t heard the last of Amy Winehouse yet, folks.

The BBC reports that Lioness: Hidden Treasures will be the third and potentially final release from the tragic singer. Coming out in December—just in time for the holidays—the twelve-track collection consists of assorted curios; b-sides, demos, covers, reworks and outtakes. Lioness supposedly shows fans where Winehouse was going with her sound at the time of her death and includes some unreleased material that gives the listener a true sense of her musical identity and influences. The project was curated by members of Winehouse’s family along with producers that Winehouse had worked with in the past, and though there is “a trove” of live performances from which to cull more material for future releases, this appears to be the final studio offering of the late singer.

Continue reading ‘Winehouse’s Lionness And The Tricky Prospect Of The Posthumous Release’

For Amy Winehouse, Love — and Life — Was a Losing Game

When I first heard the news about Amy Winehouse‘s passing (on Twitter, naturally), the comment that stood out most was one by Winehouse herself in an interview that the singer had done a few years ago with my former Entertainment Weekly colleague Chris Willman. In it, Winehouse jokingly made a prediction that, in hindsight, isn’t very funny at all.

Portrait by Lauren Wells

In 10 years, she said, “I’ll be dead in a ditch, on fire.” Sadly, for her many fans who had rode shotgun as she drove down the path of self-destruction, the “dead” part of her premonition was no joking matter. It was a distinct possibility, if not a certain probability, and one that came to pass on July 23, when Winehouse, who had infamously battled drug and alcohol addiction and had been in and out of rehab in recent years, was found dead in her London home.

The first thing I thought, after spending a moment to grieve for her family and loved ones, was that the world would be cheated out of so much great music. With Back to Black, her 2006 breakthrough album, Winehouse did so much more than show great promise. Hers already was a talent in full bloom. Back to Black was destined to go down as one of the all-time masterpieces. I was living in Buenos Aires at the time of its release, and I knew people who didn’t speak a word of English who could recite every line from every song.

It’s better to burn out than fade away. Live fast, die young. Leave a beautiful corpse. We’ve also all heard the one about how dying (especially before one’s time) is the best career move. I don’t know how beautiful Winehouse’s corpse will be, but she is guaranteed a spot in the pantheon of musical greats who left the party too soon.

Chillingly, she’ll be right beside the musical icons that she seemed to want to emulate most: Janis Joplin, a blue-eyed soulful precursor to whom she was often compared; Jimi Hendrix; Jim Morrison; and Kurt Cobain, all of whom died when they were the same age as Winehouse. If ever there were an unlucky number, it would have to be 27.

Unlike the legends who preceded Winehouse to an early grave and left behind so much incredible, indelible music, Winehouse bequeathed us with relatively few musical gifts. There are her two albums, 2003′s Frank and Back to Black, as well as a handful of one-off guest appearances on other people’s songs (Mark Ronson, Quincy Jones, and Tony Bennett, whose Duets II album in September will feature Winehouse). Sadly, her final impression will be a June concert in Belgrade, Serbia in which the apparently bombed singer stumbled and slurred her way through a few songs before being booed off the stage.

She had reportedly been working on new music for years, and at one point, was said to be on the verge of working with Roots drummer ?uestlove and producer/performer Raphael Saadiq on a project that had been delayed because of Winehouse’s trouble securing a U.S. travel visa due to her 2007 drug arrest for marijuana possession in Norway. So from here to eternity, all we’ll have to remember Winehouse by will be masterpieces of melancholy like “Love Is a Losing Game” and “Tears Dry on Their Own.” We’ll sing along, we’ll cry, we’ll look for clues to what was going on inside her troubled mind, to figure out why she was such a lost soul.

For you I was a flame

Love is a losing game

Five story fire as you came

Love is a losing game

From this day forth, Winehouse’s world-weary look of love will make Adele’s 21 sound like feel-good music. Speaking of Adele, Winehouse should have been where the “Rolling in the Deep” singer is now, reaping continued financial and critical benefits after a first rush of success. Now who’s going to fill her f**k me pumps (to quote the title of one of her early songs)?

Surprisingly, for all of her Grammys, accolades and albums sold, Winehouse only had one single resembling a hit in the U.S., “Rehab,” which went to No. 10 on Billboard’s Hot 100. I’ll never again be able to listen to the song in quite the same way, as a statement of bad-ass defiance. Now it will just sound like the words of a sad, desperate woman in denial and on the brink of collapse. If only she’d taken their advice.

BPL Vs. The Roots

Hey guys! In this new, weekly feature on OurStage we’ll be shining a spotlight on one of our own OurStage artists and comparing them to a nationally recognized artist that you might be more familiar with. Each week, we’ll select an artist based on musical characteristics similar to a well known mainstream artist. While highlighting the similarities between said artists, we will also show you what makes each OurStage artist unique and not simply a rip-off of the artist they are being compared to. Our goal with this column is to help you guys find great new music that you might not have heard of or found on the site yet.

For our inaugural post let’s look at North Carolina-based alternative hip hop group BPL, and compare them to the hip hop group The Roots. BPL’s most obvious similarity to The Roots is that they are a “hip hop band”. The band packs a punch with seven members, including two saxophone players and a trumpet player . Much like The Roots, BPL mixes influence from soul, funk and jazz, and meshes that all together with a 90s hip hop flavor. Performing using all live instruments, their sound is much more organic and natural sounding than most synth driven hip hop you will hear on the radio today—you won’t find any Autotune on these tracks. And like The Roots, these guys are talented instrumentalists. It’s one thing to sound good in the studio, but BPL brings it live with the energy and tightness of any of the best touring acts today. Check out their live video for “The Answer” below.

OurStage's BPL

The Roots

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now, you’re probably thinking, “Well, what makes BPL different from a group like The Roots.” BPL sets themselves apart from the pack with their lyrics and arrangements. While The Roots’ lyrics typically deal with socially conscious and political themes, BPL’s lyrical themes are far more varied. This is clearly evidenced on their track “Do You Remember?”, a song about a night of partying and trying to remember what happened the day after. While this sounds somewhat juvenile at first, BPL’s fantastic MCs have the ability to tell a detailed story with their lyrics that keeps you enthralled. MCs Peter Schaffer and Michael Martin have the ability to paint a picture with their words much like rappers Eminem or Nas do; their use of specific details and clearly enunciated rhymes make it very easy to mentally visualize the story they are telling in their lyrics.

BPL continues to defy mainstream conventions with their lengthy and complex arrangements, clearly demonstrated on their epic, eight and half minute track “Winter”. This is a track that is as much of a jazz tune as it is a hip hop song. The track begins with a slow and somber piano melody, and with an opening line like “I feel like Coltrane in a land of Kenny G’s,” you can tell these guys know their jazz. About halfway through the song, the rapping stops and the song breaks down into almost a free form jazz jam with the instrumentalists improvising, until ultimately building up to the most energetic verse of the song, where Peter Schaffer raps in double time. It is a truly striking song and unlike anything you’ll hear on the average hip-hop radio station.

BPL’s debut album Higher is out now on NuSouth Entertainment

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.

Character Study: Just How Real Is Nicki Minaj? [COVER STORY]

How real is Nicki Minaj? Is she a doll pulling her own strings to satisfy the appetities of her Barbie brigade and alpha male following? To a point. Is she the evolution of the female MC—quirky, fashionable, talented? Arguably. Continue reading on VIBE.com…

A Sitdown With Ice Cube

In this two-part video interview, VIBE.com checks in to Manhattan’s London Hotel to talk with West Coast rap legend Ice Cube about Tyler Perry, younger rivals and reuniting with Ice Cube for Detox. I Am The West, Cube’s eighth solo album, is in stores today. Continue reading on VIBE.com…

The WINs & FAILs of Eminem’s ‘Recovery’

A few notable revelations practically scream out of the speakers after one listen to Eminem’s therapeutic comeback album Recovery. It’s indeed possible for a former drug addict to create a focused work that manages to reach the boundless lyrical heights of his pill popping past triumphs. Continue reading on VIBE.com…

Scene & Heard: New York, NY

Trying to encompass the music scene of New York City with one article is a daunting task. With its diverse cultural centers, countless musicians, and seemingly infinite number of rooms that are considered “major music venues,” navigating the town is just short of impossible. I’ve done my best to pull together a comprehensive review of music venues, arts publications and local acts/genres.
There are a couple places that locals and outsiders alike would consider a “great New York venue.” The Mercury Lounge and the Bowery Ballroom– among others– have provided a stage for countless acts over the years. Hosting upcoming performances such as LCD Soundsystem and Flyleaf, the Mercury Ballroom is a high profile venue which also allows for audiences to check out up-and-coming New York talent on a nightly basis.
If you’re looking for a more diverse calendar, you can check out (le) poisson rouge. This eclectic venue hosts everything from pop and rock acts to new music and art exhibits. Having hosted acts such as Matt and Kim and Moby, the venue does have an impressive resume. In fact it was named “Best Rock Venue” last year by The Village Voice. By its own definition though, the venue’s goal is to merge the reception of mainstream music, art music and visual displays into one contemporary location. Looking at the calendar, it becomes clear that you won’t see the same show every night.
OurStage band Man on Earth base themselves out of NYC. With a lot of shows under their belt, extensive press coverage and impressive collaborations with Ken Lewis (producer for Lenny Kravits, Beastie Boys, Fall Out Boy) and Dr. Fink (keyboardist for Prince), the band is certainly gaining credibility. However, notoriety is rare in a market like New York City, and most bands struggle to define their own sound while still producing music that fits their scene. Needless to say, NYC is full of emerging talent and up-and-coming bands.
When asked to describe the scene in one sentence, Steven Nathan of Man on Earth called it, “Busy, confused, eclectic and easily-distracted but deeply-inspired.” He went on to say that it is also “capable of changing the world.” The band recognizes the amount of noise that they must fight through to be heard in such a competitive market. Even though Man on Earth has played venues like the Mercury Lounge, Nathan mentioned that their favorite recently-played venue is Brooklyn Bowl. This smaller, multi-purposed space features local talent many nights of the week and is set to feature a DJ set by the Roots’ Questlove later this month and Les Claypool of Primus in June. While the band mentioned Brooklyn Bowl isn’t the typical venue, it showcases the quintessential New York vibe.
Be sure to check out Man on Earth’s OurStage profile. They recommend that if you’re visiting the city to hear some great local music, go out there with a plan – know who’s playing and where. No matter what you’re looking for, you’re sure to find it in NYC.

Q&A … AND GENERAL CONVERSATION… WITH ?UESTLOVE

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Ahmir “?uestlove” Thompson, drummer extraordinaire and co-founder of the hardest working hip hop band, The Roots, talks with OurStage during a break from taping the Jimmy Fallon Show. Beside touring all over the world, The Roots also manage to be the house band for Fallon which has given ?uestlove recent insight into what it takes these days to make it in the music business.

OS: What advice would you give to a hip hop band that’s just starting out? Would you tell them to simply go out on the road and do as many shows live as possible, or would you tell them to hone their chops in the studio and build a fan base making mixes/demos/singles etc.?

?L: The answer will actually handle both of those together: I would insist that they rehearse for three to four hours a day. Real rehearsal. That is the key. This job with Fallon has forced us to do something that we’ve never ever done in our 17 years. We’ve never rehearsed. I know that’s weird to hear. We’ll do soundchecks, but that’s hardly rehearsal. It used to be where I considered Boise, Idaho, or St. Paul, Minnesota, as rehearsals, real shows would be L.A., New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Paris, major cities. What I’m finding out now is that with the show, that we have to rehearse hard for four hours, every day, we’re becoming better musicians, and we’re becoming way better songwriters. I feel like I’ve cheated us and cheated our fan base. All I can say is, damn, if we’d only rehearsed four hours every day since we started, we could have literally Lennon/McCartneyed the shit out of this industry. All our songs are based off a riff and a jam. If we really just applied that whole Malcolm Gladwell 10,000 hours of rehearsal thing, we’d be kings.

OS: It’s refreshing to hear you say that, because I feel artists just starting out feel that if they just play live all the time that their sound will grow organically.

?L: Having this job is making me feel like we’ve only been operating at 40% of our powers, when we could have really been kicking ass at 95%. Its gonna make you a stronger songwriter, socially it’s gonna make you stronger— well you still have to deal with the closeness of being in a band and seeing these people all the time, i.e. the social aspect—but from a creative standpoint, as a band, you will be better, and you know I’m not saying you’ll be the best in the world. I know Deerhoof puts rehearsal before performance, by no means of their imagination are they virtuosos on some David Murray/ John Coltrane thing, but you can tell that those guys practice and play together.

OS: It’s funny cause you mentioned Deerhoof, because I was actually spoke to them once about how hard they rehearse, it’s amazing how it all comes down to practice. Look at someone like Trey Anastasio from Phish. When that band was at its apex, it’s not because they noodled for 18 minutes on a song, it’s because those guys rehearsed, they said they would spend like 6 hours a day when their not on tour, just sitting in a room, they would play rehearsal games, they would turn off all the lights so you can’t look for visual queues, you have to listen. They would do this for hours. Trey felt that the whole dynamic fell apart because life got in the way. Kids, getting so big, interviews, tours, all the “distractions” that took them away from practice time as they got bigger it may sound like we’re just improvising all this stuff, and a lot of it is, but really a lot of that improvisation comes from hours and hours and hours together in a room knowing where each other are musically.

?L: That’s why we do the Highline jam sessions as well. Tuesday, we played from midnight to four in the morning at the Highline. First of all, the pressure of practicing in front of an audience, that brings out an 7th sense that I didn’t know I had; that of an oppressor. The hardest thing about this gig is doing it each night. I guess I’m a perfectionist by nature, and I will say to all people that thought by taking this job and we were gonna phone it in from home. NO WAY! It’s funny when you mention the whole lights off rehearsal game, because we can’t all see each other during the show the way they have us set up, so this really does mean that we have to listen to each other. Which is always for the best.

 


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