UK’s Fraser Jane releases music video for ‘Enough’

Fraser Jane is an Irish production based songstress who has spent the past three years learning the art of self production while living in London.   Her vivid imagination and style remind this reviewer of a cross between Bjork and Enya, although others have also compared her to Imogene Heap and Kate Bush.  Despite these comparisons, this songwriter is blazing her own unique trail with a sound and style all her own.

Fraser grew up in a musical household.  Although her first foray into the artistic community was as a dancer, her love and desire for music caused her to abandon that career path and focus instead on singing, writing and creating her own music.

She embarked on her first solo tour in the summer of 2014, playing dates throughout her native Ireland, including Whelans in Dublin and the Cork Jazz Festival.

Her first album Enough was released earlier this year.  She has now released a video highlighting the title track, an alt-pop song that runs the gamut from tribal drums to uplifting string arrangements, climaxing in a stirring vocal finale.  The video itself also brings back memories of another breakthrough video, Peter Gabriel’s “Sledgehammer,” with its quirky graphics and theme, which serve to underscore the lyrical content.

Legendary producer Gary Katz, famous for his work with Steely Dan and for discovering such notable acts as Chaka Khan, Rufus, Jimmy Buffett and Jim Croce, recently had this to say about Fraser Jane:  Every once in a while, not very often, I hear an artist that is creating distinctive original music that makes my ears perk up and my foot tap.  Fraser Jane is one of those artists.”

If you like original music which stands on its own in a cookie-cutter world, then Fraser Jane may be just the artist for you.  Learn more about her by checking out her website and Facebook pages, follow her on Twitter and Instagram, and subscribe to her YouTube and SoundCloud channels.

 

Lyndzie Taylor’s Phoenix is the perfect vehicle for her musical rebirth

Colorado native Lyndzie Taylor is set to capture the Los Angeles music scene with the release of her new EP Phoenix.  Produced by Mallory Trunnell (one half of the alt-country duo Crimson Calamity), Phoenix allows Taylor to spotlight her true musical talents.

Taylor grew up on the music of 80’s female rockers like Joan Jett and Pat Benatar, and her latest offering provides notice to the world that Taylor belongs in that same category.  All five songs on the EP are impressive, beginning with the first electronic notes of “What do I Know” and lasting until the final note of the title track.

Taylor moved to Los Angeles to attend the American Musical and Dramatic Academy, majoring in Musical Theater and Voice Performance.  Along the way she met Trunnell and Lauren Harding (the other half of Crimson Calamity), as well as other female voices in LA’s indie music scene.  Taylor’s early career could be classified as “singer-songwriter,” and she excelled in that genre.  Now, however, under the direction of Trunnell, Phoenix announces to the world that Taylor has arrived as a true voice on the indie rock scene.

“My music is loud, bold and in your face,” admits Taylor.  “It felt good to match my creative expression with my personality in the studio.”

Definitely falling into that category are tracks 1 (“What do I Know”) and 4 (“Let’s Get Loud”), while tracks 3 (“Rain”) and 5 (“Phoenix”) show a softer but no less powerful side of her musical prowess.

Taylor envisions making a mark as a fiery voice in the LA music scene.  “The emotional core of my music is strength, as a person, as a woman and as an artist.”  We definitely agree.

For those of you fortunate enough to live in Los Angeles, Taylor will be celebrating the release of Phoenix with a record release show at 10 p.m. on December 2 at Club Moscow @ Boardners in Hollywood.  We strongly encourage you to check her out live.  If you can’t wait, you can download her music now from iTunes.

For more info on this amazing artist, check out her Facebook page, follow her on Twitter and Instagram and subscribe to her YouTube channel.

Women in entertainment: Danni Rosner, sweet country songstress

As we head into Thanksgiving, it is our privilege to present this week’s Women in Entertainment profile of Danni Rosner, former television host, singer-songwriter and founder of the future country wonders, Honey County, one of the brightest of country music’s newcomers.

Born and raised in Virginia, she relocated with her family to Tokyo, Japan as she was entering the fifth grade.  She remained abroad until high school, when her family returned to Virginia.  Rosner then attended Virginia Tech, where she graduated with degrees in English and Musical Analysis.

Her musical career truly began in 2009 when she won the legendary NYC Amateur Night at the Apollo with a rendition of Aretha Franklin’s “Chain of Fools.”  Since then, she has been featured several times at the Sunset Sessions Radio Film & TV Showcase in Las Vegas and has performed live on a myriad of NBC, FOX & WUSA morning news and talk programs.  She was also the host for PBS’s music video program Strictly Global on the MHz Networks.  Her music has been placed in several television shows and indie films, including A&E’s TEACH:  Tony Danza, ABC’s General Hospital, and the indie film The Umbrealla Man.

In 2013, her solo single, “Didn’t Mean it That Way,” debuted at #6 on the iTunes POP ‘Hot Tracks’ and quickly followed with notable placements on iTunes New & Noteworthy Country and iTunes Rising Stars of Country.  Along the way, she also found time to tour as a solo artist in support of Grammy winners Leeann Rimes, Marc Cohn and current Top 40 artist Matt Nathanson.

In 2014, Danni founded the female pop-country trio Honey County.  The band has already had a song placed on the 2014 season finale of HBO’s True Blood, a pop-country trio.  In addition, the band was chosen as a semi-finalist on VH1’s Make a Band Famous.

After the band released their first self-titled EP earlier this year, their single, “99 Bottles” was selected to represent them in CMT’s contest to chose the opening band for country superstar Brett Eldredge.  Los Angeles-based country station Go Country 105 also sponsored the band in the 34th annual Country Showdown competition, where they finished second.  Go Country was so impressed with the band that they booked them for their Hot Country Nights cruise.  Rosner also found time this year to share her voice on Disney’s TV movie event Descendants.

What inspires Rosner?   “I’m constantly inspired by my younger sister, April.  With every day that she battles ulcerative colitis, she continues to remain upbeat and positive.  She is one of the most resilient and courageous people I know.”

Honey County has received airplay not only on popular Los Angeles radio station KCRW, but also on iheartradio station WPOC 93.1, and continues to perform throughout California, most recently at the Hotel Cafe in Hollywood and Incahoots in Fullerton, as well as the legendary Troubadour on Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood.

Where does Rosner see herself in the future?  “It’s hard to see 10 or 20 minutes down the road much less years, but I dream BIG!”

WPOC DJ St.Pierre said it best:  “I know it’s hard to compare anybody to this (speaking of Danni Rosner) superstar’s voice, but Danni has a ‘Carrie Underwood’ feel, and it’ really powerful.”
With an upcoming show at the newly relocated House of Blues on December 17, fans will have the chance to see why Honey County, featuring Danni Rosner is definitely on their way up the charts.
To find out more about Rosner and her band, check out their website and Facebook pages (solo and band), follow them on Twitter and Instagram, and subscribe to their YouTube channel.

Shane Piasecki to debut new video

Back when I was writing for Examiner.com and AXS.com, I had the privilege of reviewing and helping to introduce Shane Piasecki, a brilliant new artist based in Nashville, Tennesee.

Piasecki will be releasing a music video for his soon-to-be hit song, “Jackie O” in the near future.  Here’s a sneak preview of that video:

Check out my review and stay tuned for the debut of this incredible music video.  In the meantime, check out his Facebook page.

Women in Entertainment: Katie Rubin, comedian, actress, healer

Good morning world – what a great weekend!  So happy to present this week’s Women in Entertainment article on my friend, Katie Rubin, an actress, writer, comedian and spiritual healer whom I met a couple of years ago at the Hollywood Fringe Festival.

Rubin has been a force on stage for many years.  She got her early education at Amherst College in Massachusetts before moving to the west coast to attend the University of California Davis, where she received her MFA in 2005.  During those early years, she also received training in New York City, as well as Los Angeles.  She has performed on stage in Los Angeles and Sacramento, appeared on A&E’s 100 Center Street and three indie films, as well as written and toured with four solo shows.

She toured her first comedic solo show Insides OUT! to venues across the country for eight years.  The show received a nine week Equity production at The Sacramento Theater Company from March through April 2006, as well as a four week run at the Foothill Theater Company in Nevada City.  The show has toured to over 100 events and venues.

Her second solo show Amazing and Sage was commissioned by Capital Stage Theater Company.  Her third solo endeavor My Spiritual Death, a Comedy Show! is currently touring the country, while her fourth show Everything, All at Once! is on commission with The Cell Theater in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  In fact, she was performing her third show when I met her at the Hollywood Fringe and convinced her to bring the show (originally called Why I Died, a Comedy!) to Missoula, Montana for the 2014 Zootown Fringe Festival.

Her first original piece PartyBoobyTrap was performed while she was an undergrad at Amherst College, while her second Avoiding Less Blue was performed at the 2000 New York Fringe Festival.  She also wrote two plays under commission of the UC Davis Department of Health, as well as a 10 person play for the Capital Stage’s annual fundraising event.

Among her multitude of acting roles are performances as Tanya in The North Plan, as Mrs. Daldry in The Next Room or The Vibrator Play, and as Wendy in Hunter Gatherers, all at the Capital Stage Theater in Sacramento, California; as Izzy in Rabbit Hole and as The Nurse in Wit at The B Street Theater; a double role as Mrs. Cratchit and the Ghost of Christmas Past in the Sacramento Theater Company production of A Christmas Carol and as Mayella in To Kill a Mockingbird; and as Mrs. Pennywise in Urinetown at the Foothill Theater.

What inspires Rubin?  “In terms of what inspired me to get started on this crazy path, it was the fact that I always had something to say and a strong desire to say it creatively, in characters, and on stages.  I am a Writer/Performer, which is to say- I have always had strong points of view about the world, big questions about existence and being alive, and an equally big need to talk about and explore them creatively.  I don’t know where those particular drives come from- I imagine it is the same for athletes and/or entreprenuers- that a strong need to do a seemingly strange, but ultimately inspiring thing arises and one either answers the call, or suffers at the hands of not having done so.  I know for msyelf when something wants to be created and I do not create it, my experience of being alive is painful- it’s like I’m living a lie or half-living.  It’s empty and vacant and unsatisfying.  Then again, in heeding the call, there are all kinds of other stressors and tensions- anxiety, fear, doubt, time and money pressures, social pressures, expectations, etc.  These, however can be managed.  But the life unlived, the words not said, cut much more deeply.  For me, anyway.  I think that is because each of us is here to contribute to the Communion of We, to the greater good, to mankind and its evolution.  And when we refuse or fail to do so, I think we suffer, and the purpose of that particular brand of suffering is to drive us forward.”

Rubin recently completed performing in the Capital Stage production of Mr. Burns, a Post Electric Play, and is currently performing in Of Kites and Kings at the Sacramento Theater.  In her own words, “Of Kites and Kings” is a new play by my dear friend Gary Wright, about the relationship between Ben Franklin and his son, William, told through the voice of the woman his son was set to marry, Polly.  After that, I will be directing a production of The Motherfucker With The Hat at Big Idea Theater.  And still after that, I’ll be writing a new solo piece with Kolt Run Productions in Sacramento, to be performed in June.”
To learn more about this amazing artistic genius, check out her website and Facebook page, follow her on Twitter and subscribe to her YouTube channel.

Women in Entertainment: Sara Routh, midwestern songstress takes flight

As the temperature drops and we head into the holiday season, this week’s Women in Entertainment focuses on globe-trotting troubadour Sara Routh, sister of Superman/Ray Palmer and a self-proclaimed “black sheep.”

Pronounced like “south,” Routh is an energetic, Iowa born, gypsy girl who traveled the world, playing in and out of incredible traditional and non-traditional venues.  One of her favorites was playing on the curb to the homeless at 4 a.m. in Shanghai, China.

The proud sister of Brandon Routh, who starred as Superman in the 2006 film Superman Returns and others before returning to television as “Ray Palmer” in WB’s Arrow, Routh has also been a part of the Hollywood scene.  Her song “Sitting On My Window” was used on the WB’s hit show, Everwood, and also earned her a win for Best Folk Artist for the Southern California Music Awards in 2006.  In addition, her song “You’re Never Gone” was placed on the compilation album, Sounds of Superman which was released internationally in 2006.

In 2008, she traveled to Shanghai, China, where she regularly performed at some of the top venues in the city.

Despite her numerous international live performances, Routh did not release her first album until June 2013.  Funded through Kickstarter, Road(s) was warmly welcomed by the public and the press and earned Routh nominations for Best Pop Album and Best Female Artist for the LA Music Critic Awards.

What inspires Routh?  “Life inspires me.  Every day I wake, it’s a beautiful day.  I am constantly looking for the next extraordinary experience.  When I find them, I embrace them, allow them to effect me and then let them go free.  From the smell of the sweet Iowa air to witnessing two lovers in their 90’s hold hands . . . these are all moments which influence my music.”

Routh recently moved back home to Des Moines, Iowa from Los Angeles, where she had filled rooms at The Foundation Room at the Sunset House of Blues, Hard Rock Café, Bar Lubitsch, Genghis Cohen and The Viper Room, just to name a few.  Her sophomore release, Black Sheep was released in September 2015 and recently reviewed on the prestigious blog No Depression.

What are her plans for the future?  ” I just released my Sophomore record, “Black Sheep” in September, and took off on my virgin solo voyage across the country.  I  will be making my mark on 25 states by the time May 2016 rolls around.  I am extremely excited for this tour.  Someone very close to me once told me, “trust in the timing of your life” and I have to say, he was right.  I do.  I will continue to write my story and I want to share it with you.  This is what I do.  This is who I am.  I want you all to be a part of that journey.”

For more information on this amazing artist, check out her website and Facebook page, follow her on Twitter and Instagram, and subscribe to her YouTube channel.

Women in entertainment: Kirsten Proffit, premier musician, songwriter and producer

Normally the first Monday of the month would be dedicated to introducing you to a future Women in Entertainment member.  Unfortunately this month, I was unable to obtain the information needed for my selected honoree, so we will continue with our regular series.  Next up to be spotlighted is the other half of California Country records, the undeniably talented Kirsten Proffit, a premier musician, songwriter and producer, and one-third of the hugely incredible Calico the band.

“Brash yet sweet, powered by love, passion, pain, and loss, Kirsten Proffit’s songs connect with listeners on a level far deeper than most of today’s singer-songwriters,” says her official bio, and believe me, it’s not hyperbole!  I have known her for quite a few years, and she has impressed me with her professionalism, her talents and her drive during the entire time.

I was first introduced to her when I was working with the Orange County Music Awards (OCMA), heading up the live acoustic performance competition.  With a sound that is a combination of the songwriting talent of Joni Mitchell and the musical abilities of Sheryl Crow, she wowed the Gypsy Den audience and impressed the judges panel and walked away with a win in the “Best Female Artist” category.

The judges were not the only ones impressed by this rising star, as she also impressed producer Bruce Witkin (Vanessa Paradis, Johnny Depp), who worked with Proffit on her debut album, Lucky Girl, an album that delves into the often turbulent world of relationships.  It resulted in two singles, “Something I Can’t Be” and “Redemption Day,” both of which received their fair share of radio airplay across the country.

Not only did Proffit’s music impress radio’s program directors and fans, it also began to move music supervisors, who placed her music in such shows as Friday Night Lights, Dawson’s Creek, Smallville and The Osbournes, and included them on the DVD soundtracks of Felicity and Party of Five.  This in turn led to a placement in Jiminy Glick in Lalawood, a movie featuring legendary Saturday Night Live comedian and director Martin Short, who used three of Proffit’s songs, including the movie’s theme song.

Setting aside the obvious skills exhibited in her recorded music, what truly sets Proffit apart from her contemporaries is her ability to craft amazing live performances, which came in handy when she appeared on such nationally syndicated radio shows as  “The Dick and Skibba Show” and the “Frosty, Heidi & Frank” show (broadcast from LA’s 97.1 KLSK).   Using songs from Lucky Girl, Proffit won the station’s “Should I Stay or Should I Go” competition, resulting in her selection to perform at their songs Birthday Bash Concert.

What inspires her?  “I am totally inspired by honesty in songwriting and performances. Anything that is true is great to me and I try not to get hung up on what is cool or trendy.  I want to make people feel something when they hear my songs.  A song is a great opportunity to say something – – good, bad or otherwise – – and really make a point,” she said. “I just want to make my point in the coolest, most musical way possible.”

Prior to hooking up with Manda Mosher to form Calico the band, Proffit shared the stage with several high-profile artists, including Duncan Sheik, Paula Cole, and the Steve Miller Band, and was chosen by Fender for an endorsement deal, which led to her performance on their stage at the 2013 NAMM Show.

Where does Proffit go from here?  “I am planning on continuing with Calico the band, finishing our upcoming record and putting it out in spring.  I am also continuing to produce other artist’s records with my partner Steve Berns and putting out records via California Country Records, the label that Manda Mosher and I started.  We will see how it goes, but it looks like there might be a California Country compilation in our future – – there are some great Americana artists on this side of the country and we would love to put something together that represents what is happening on the west coast right now.”

For more information about this amazing artist, check out her website and Facebook pages, follow her on Twitter and subscribe to her YouTube channel.