Category Archives: Awards

Monday Mashup 2017: Vol 7

Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone in love.  Thought we ‘d kick off this week’s Monday Mashup with the latest music video from our friends at Redhead Express.  This original song was written by lead singer Kendra and features her husband Kelly and their son in a simply beautiful homage to love.  Check it out and share it.  If you love what they’re doing, please consider becoming one of their Patreon supporters.

INDIE ARTIST MAKES HISTORY AT GRAMMY AWARDS

Chance the Rapper, an unsigned independent artist who has never recorded a physical album, took home three Grammys last night from his seven nominations.  He won for best rap album for Coloring Book, best rap performance for “No Problem,” and best new artist.  What sets him further apart is the fact that this award winning album is only available through streaming.  Way to set the bar high, Chance.  Here’s to the future of the music industry!

Speaking of the Grammys – huge shout out to a couple of indie artists who performed at the show.  Adrienne Woods played her cello during John Legend’s performance, while indie triple threat actress Tiffany Phillips was a part of the Beyoncé performance.  Way to go!

BALCONY TV HOSTS STREETS OF LAREDO

We introduced you to the amazing sound of Streets of Laredo back in October 2016.  Balcony TV recently hosted them and filmed a music video for their hit single “99.9%,” which they released today.  Check it out.

MORE MUSIC VIDEOS

Two more indie artists recently released music videos.  First up is the amazing Shannon Hurley, who released a stunning Max Headroom-esq video of her forthcoming single “Someday.”

Our second video is a premiere from a new artist we were recently introduced to.  We like what we see so far – please let us know your opinion.  His name is Dario and his tune is called “Good Morning World.”

Enjoy your week!

 

 

Announcement of LA Music Critic Award winners for second half of 2016

If we haven’t said this enough, 2016 was a banner year for indie music.  Indie artists were recognized for Grammy nominations and wins, as well as crashing into the Billboard Top 40 charts.  In addition, 2017 is looking like a continuation of this indie tide.

Save the date of June 21, 2017 for the first LIVE awards show celebrating the best of the LA Music Critic Awards, to be held in Los Angeles.  We’ll have performances by some of your favorites as well as give out awards reflecting the best of the best.  More details will be available as the event is finalized.

Back to the present, where we are so thrilled to finally be able to announce to  you the winners of the second half of 2016 for the LA Music Critic Awards.

Here we go . . .

Best EP Female: Katie Costello (From the Vault), Amie Miriello (Seeya When I Seeya), Gina Sicilia (Sunset Avenue)

Best EP Male:  McDougall (Reaching for Some Light), Year of Suns (Songs for Silence)

Best EP Band:  Stereo Off (EP III), The Spider Accomplice (LA:  The Abduction), JERK (Jerk)

Best CD Female:  Camille Bloom (Pieces of Me), Lauren Adams (Somewhere Else), Sonia Rao (Meet Them at the Door), Janey Street (Janey Street), Cindy Alexander (Deep Waters), Kari Kimmel (Poppyfields)

Best CD Male:  Sharif (Tangled Dreams and Empty Bottles), Bobbo Byrnes (Motel Americana), Patrick Joseph (Hindsight), Josh Farrow (Trouble Walks With Me), Michael Hornbuckle (Soul Repo)

Best CD Band: Streets of Laredo (Wild), Spiritual Rez (Setting in the West), The Congress (The Game), Spelling Reform (No One’s Ever Changed), Daddy Issues (Handle It)

Best Christmas Single:  Shannon Hurley ft. Brandon Schott (“Fairytale of New York”), Cindy Alexander (“Christmas Song”), Katie Garibaldi (“Tomorrow is Christmas Morning”), Frank Shiner (“Please Come Home for Christmas”), Kaylee Keller (“Christmas in Your Arms”)

Best Video (Holiday):  Katie Garibaldi (“Tomorrow is Christmas Morning”), Redhead Express (“Away in a Manger”), Frank Shiner (“Please Come Home for Christmas”)

Best Video (cover):  No Small Children (“Ghostbusters”), Redhead Express (“Chocolate on my Tongue”), Redhead Express (“Clean”)

Best Video (live):  Patrick Joseph (“Piece of Your Love”), India Carney (“You”), Mitch Hayes (“All Fall Down”), The Congress (“Oh Babe”)

Best Video (lyric):  Jess Penner (“Together”), War and Pierce (“On and On”), Mikey Wax (“Helium”)

Best Video (official) Female:   Lucy Woodward (“Live Live Live”), Alexis Keegan (“Empty Heart”), Camille Bloom (“Pieces of Me”), Caitlin Eadie (“Don’t Want to Be”), Alyssa Jacey (“I Want it to Rain”), Shannon Hurley (“Heartbeat on the Radio”), Katie Garibaldi (“Delightful”)

Best Video (official) Male:   Jon Mullane (“Born Beautiful”), Dan Franklin (“Live to Dream Again”), Brian Travis (“Shipwreck”)

Best Video (official) Band:   The Spider Accomplice (“You Still Lie”), The Show Ponies (“The Time it Takes”), Spiritual Rez ft. Hirie (“Together Always”), The Congress (“Home Again”), Roots of Creation (“Struggle”), Sleep Machine (“Animal High”)

Best Video (Collaboration):  Earwig and Lydia Loveless (“Wasted on You”)

Best Rock Band:  The Spider Accomplice, Daddy Issues, Pollen Rx, Sleep Machine

Best Pop Band:  Lovers and Poets, Foxtraxx, The Congress, Ray and Remora, No Nets

Best Country/Americana Band:  Elouise Deep Water, The Show Ponies, Riddle and the Stars, Honey County

Best Reggae Band:  Roots of Creation, Spiritual Rez

Best Pop/Rock Male Artist: Patrick Joseph, Year of Suns, McDougall, Mikey Wax

Best Pop/Rock Female Artist:  Jess Penner, Katie Costello, Cindy Alexander, Janey Street, Camille Bloom

Best Blues Artist:  Peach & the Almost Blues Band, The King Brothers, Papermoon Gypsys, Michael Hornbuckle

Best Country/Americana Artist:  Alice Wallace, Lauren Adams, Brian Travis, Katie Garibaldi, Mitch Hayes

Best Jazz Artist:  Lucy Woodward, Nancy Sanchez

Rising Star:  Juliana Wilson, Meresha, Kaylee Keller, Rachel Brett

Fan Favorite:  Once again the fans were very vocal in support of their favorite artist.  Early indications were that it would be a landslide for Eloise Black Water, but she and her band were overtaken by the rabid fans of Janey Street and Papermoon Gypsys.  Cindy Alexander fans even made a dark horse attempt, but they were unable to overcome the previous three.  When the dust cleared, Papermoon Gypsys rose to the top, followed by Janey Street, Eloise Black Water and Cindy Alexander.  Other artists nominated included Michael Hornbuckle, Mitch Hayes, Peach, Daddy Issues, and Jon Mullane.

Icon Award:  This award did not draw much attention this year, so it was left to the committee to pick a winner.  Looking back on the past few years, one name kept coming to the top for their ardent support of their clients, their clear presence in the world, their drive and their diligence to their craft.  This year’s Icon Award winner is Laura Goldfarb of Red Boot PR.

Most Supportive PR Firm:  Doug Deutsch Publicity Services

Most Supportive Indie Label:  Blue Élan Records

Most Impressive Crowdfunding Campaign:  Clare Means

Best Use of Patreon Platform:  Marina V

Most Likely to go Mainstream:  Jerad Finck

Most Deserving of Indie Music Hall of Fame:  Janey Street

Best Indie Albums of 2016 (an unbiased opinion)

Happy new year.  While you’re all chomping at the bit to find out who won the LA Music Critic Awards for the second half of 2016, we thought we would give you our take on the best indie albums of 2016.  The list is in alphabetical order, as we could not rank them otherwise.  Each of these albums has been reviewed by Indie Voice Blog (except for one), so we are providing the link so you can check out the full review.  Here we go . . .

Camile Bloom – Pieces of Me

We have been fans of Bloom for many years, and her latest masterpiece is also one of her best ever.  You cannot go wrong in adding this one to your musical collection.

Chely Wright – I am the Rain

This is the one album we have not previously reviewed.  Wright was a huge country star 20 years ago when she was signed to MCA Nashville.  I discovered her talent in the late 90’s when she and another “unknown,” Kenny Chesney, opened a show for Confederate Railroad at the Date Festival in Indio, California.  Since MCA stupidly dropped her, Wright has continued making music, as well as being the first country artist to come out.  We were privileged to have been a supporter of her crowd-funding campaign for this album, which is one of her most intimate and profound projects to date.  Needless to say that most people will be deeply touched by the music on this album, and we highly recommend it to all our readers.

The Congress – The Game

Thanks to our friendship with the Big Kahuna, Laura Goldfarb, of Red Boot PR, we discovered this gem in September.  It has all the right elements to propel this band into the spotlight.  Grab it while you can.

Daddy Issues – Handle It

This band took us by storm after Jennifer Allison introduced them to us.  They are gorgeous and even more talented, and are taking the rock world by the sheer force of their music.  This is a band that will only get better as they mature.  Check them out now – you won’t be sorry.

Earwig –  Pause for the Jets

We must admit, what first caught our attention about this band was their collaboration with Lydia Loveless on “Wasted on You.”  However, once we had a chance to hear their CD, we were equally impressed by them.  We think you’ll be hearing about them for years to come.  Thanks to Michelle King for introducing them to us.

Janey Street – My Side of Paradise

Janey Street has been writing great songs for as long as Janice Ian, but has remained relatively obscure, until now.  Her latest on Blue Élan Records is amazing, and truly deserving of recognition and industry attention.  Definitely add this one to your collection.

Sharif – Tangled Dreams and Empty Bottles

Sharif is another artist we have followed for years while we were in Los Angeles.  He has since returned to college for his Masters degree in music.  While there he discovered Middle Eastern music, and incorporated it into his style as part of his thesis.  The resulting album is by far one of his best.  Check it out and we think you’ll agree.

Sonia Rao – Meet Them at the Door

Another artist who reached out to her fans for crowd-funding help, Sonia Rao is just becoming known outside of the indie music scene.  Her recent tour in support of this album was a rousing success.  Take a listen to these tunes and we think you’ll understand why.

The Spider Accomplice – Los Angeles:  The Abduction

We have followed the work of VK Lynne, lead singer for The Spider Accomplice through her journey from singer-songwriter, country, pop, rock, and metal to her rightful place as the voice of indie music.  This EP is the second in their Los Angeles trilogy, and solidifies their place as one of the premiere indie rock bands in the world.

Spiritual Rez – Setting in the West

We at Indie Voice Blog have always been fans of reggae music, and no one did it better in 2016 than Spiritual Rez.  Not only are their tunes impossible to sit still through, they have also incorporated and featured other amazing artists into their groove, including Daddy B of Dirty Heads, HIRIE and Billy Kottage of Reel Big Fish.  In addition, their music videos are ‘off the hook’ wicked.  Thanks again to Laura Goldfarb for introducing them to us.

Looking forward to revealing the LA Music Critic Award winners on January 17.

Nominations for LA Music Critic Awards for the second half of 2016 announced

Wow – what a year 2016 has been for indie music.  So much great music has come out that it has been a painstakingly hard effort to sort through it all and bring you our nominees for the LA Music Critic Awards for the second half of 2016.

Remember – you the fans get to nominate your favorite artists for the Fan Favorite award, and your comments and feedback are considered by our panel when we decide who will be the winners.  So comment below, share this article with your friends, and let’s break 1000 comments.

You can also help us by nominating people who have either had a long indie career or have helped indie artists by nominating them for the Icon Award.

We look forward to your thoughts on our nominations, but above all, remember to support indie music.  It is the best music around.  Without further ado, here are the nominations for the second half of 2016:

Best EP Female: Katie Costello (From the Vault), Amie Miriello (Seeya When I Seeya), Gina Sicilia (Sunset Avenue)

Best EP Male:  McDougall (Reaching for Some Light), Year of Suns (Songs for Silence)

Best EP Band:  Stereo Off (EP III), The Spider Accomplice (LA:  The Abduction), JERK (Jerk)

Best CD Female:  Camille Bloom (Pieces of Me), Lauren Adams (Somewhere Else), Sonia Rao (Meet Them at the Door), Janey Street (Janey Street), Cindy Alexander (Deep Waters), Kari Kimmel (Poppyfields)

Best CD Male:  Sharif (Tangled Dreams and Empty Bottles), Bobbo Byrnes (Motel Americana), Patrick Joseph (Hindsight), Josh Farrow (Trouble Walks With Me), Michael Hornbuckle (Soul Repo)

Best CD Band: Streets of Laredo (Wild), Spiritual Rez (Setting in the West), The Congress (The Game), Spelling Reform (No One’s Ever Changed), Daddy Issues (Handle It)

Best Christmas Single:  Shannon Hurley ft. Brandon Schott (“Fairytale of New York”), Cindy Alexander (“Christmas Song”), Katie Garibaldi (“Tomorrow is Christmas Morning”), Frank Shiner (“Please Come Home for Christmas”), Kaylee Keller (“Christmas in Your Arms”)

Best Video (Holiday):  Katie Garibaldi (“Tomorrow is Christmas Morning”), Redhead Express (“Away in a Manger”),  Frank Shiner (“Please Come Home for Christmas”)

Best Video (cover):  No Small Children (“Ghostbusters”), Redhead Express (“Chocolate on my Tongue”), Redhead Express (“Clean”)

Best Video (live):  Patrick Joseph (“Piece of Your Love”), India Carney (“You”), Mitch Hayes (“All Fall Down”), The Congress (“Oh Babe”)

Best Video (lyric):  Jess Penner (“Together”), War and Pierce (“On and On”), Mikey Wax (“Helium”)

Best Video (official) Female:   Lucy Woodward (“Live Live Live”), Alexis Keegan (“Empty Heart”), Camille Bloom (“Pieces of Me”), Caitlin Eadie (“Don’t Want to Be”), Alyssa Jacey (“I Want it to Rain”), Shannon Hurley (“Heartbeat on the Radio”), Katie Garibaldi (“Delightful”)

Best Video (official) Male:   Jon Mullane (“Born Beautiful”), Dan Franklin (“Live to Dream Again”), Brian Travis (“Shipwreck”)

Best Video (official) Band:   The Spider Accomplice (“You Still Lie”), The Show Ponies (“The Time it Takes”), Spiritual Rez ft. Hirie (“Together Always”), The Congress (“Home Again”), Roots of Creation (“Struggle”), Sleep Machine (“Animal High”)

Best Video (Collaboration):  Earwig and Lydia Loveless (“Wasted on You”)

Best Rock Band:  The Spider Accomplice, Daddy Issues, Pollen Rx, Sleep Machine

Best Pop Band:  Lovers and Poets, Foxtraxx, The Congress, Ray and Remora, No Nets

Best Country/Americana Band:  Elouise Deep Water, The Show Ponies, Riddle and the Stars, Honey County

Best Pop/Rock Male Artist: Patrick Joseph, Year of Suns, McDougall, Mikey Wax

Best Pop/Rock Female Artist:  Jess Penner, Katie Costello, Cindy Alexander, Janey Street, Camille Bloom

Best Blues Artist:  Peach & the Almost Blues Band, The King Brothers, Papermoon Gypsys, Michael Hornbuckle

Best Country/Americana Artist:  Alice Wallace, Lauren Adams, Brian Travis, Katie Garibaldi, Mitch Hayes

Best Jazz Artist:  Lucy Woodward, Nancy Sanchez

Best Reggae Band:  Roots of Creation, Spiritual Rez

Rising Star:  Juliana Wilson, Meresha, Kaylee Keller, Rachel Brett

Fan Favorite:  (To be nominated by  the fans)

Icon Award:  (To be announced)

 

 

Monday mashup: What’s new in the indie world?

Happy Thanksgiving week!  We’re proud to bring you a new feature which will be published every Monday.  So many things are happening in the indie world, and we try to cover as many of them as possible.  This feature will bring you tidbits of recent events involving indie artists.  If you want to know more about the latest happenings, check in with us each Monday.  If any of these snippets pique your interest, let us know and we’ll expand our coverage.

World Hello Day – November 21

K-Syran has released a music video of an acoustic version of her song “Hello” to celebrate World Hello Day, when everyone is encourage to say “hello” to 10 new people.  You can find out more about K-Syran by checking out our Women in Entertainment feature on her.

Temecula Valley Music Awards Handed Out

The TVMAs were handed out on November 12 in Temecula, California.  Among the winners announced by founder Tim Moyer was recent LA Music Critic Award winner Diana Rein for Best Blues.  Other winners included Bob Karwin for Best Acoustic performance; Maddie Lei for Best Country performance; OS Roxx and Cougrzz Rock tied for Best Cover Band; Daring Greatly for Best out of Town; Jarvis Brown for Best Rock performance; We Belong for Best Tribute Band; Anthony Cullins for Best Youth Original song; Makayla Philips for Best Youth Cover Song and Franklin’s Cove for Most Supportive Venue.  Erick Turner was also awarded Local Legend.

If you live in or around the Temecula Valley of California, TVMA is gearing up for their 2017 season.  Check them out for more info.

Hollywood Music in Media Awards

It’s definitely awards season.  The HMMAs are unique in that they honor music in media from both indie and mainstream artists.  These awards, created by Los Angeles producer Brent Harvey, continue to expand their reach and are becoming more and more prestigious in the industry.  Among the indie artists who were nominated and appeared at this year’s HMMAs, held on November 17 at the Fonda Theatre in Hollywood, were Katie Garibaldi and Marina V.  Justin Timberlake and John Debney were among the winners, which also included indie artist Jon Mullane for Best Independent Video for “Born Beautiful,” as well as an Honorable Mention for his documentary, Shine On.  Find out more by visiting their website.

New Video Releases

War and Pierce released a lyric video for their song “On and On” while Alexis Keegan released a video for her song “Empty Heart.”  Check them out below.

Wanna be included in next week’s mash-up?  Just send your news to us at lamusiccritic@gmail.com.  We’d love to promote you and your music and keep your fans apprised of your latest news.  Looking forward to hearing from artists, fans and publicists.  Subscribe to our blog so you won’t miss any of our features, including two Get it or Forget it articles this week, when we will review the latest from Mike Jacoby, Patrick Joseph, Rachel Brett, Racing Heart, Affordable Hybrid and No One Minds.  Until next week, have a wonderful Thanksgiving and enjoy your family time.

 

Getting to know the 2016 LA Music Critic Award winners – Marina V

We’re nearing the end of our series of interviews with the winners of the LA Music Critic Awards for the first half of 2016.  Today’s interview is special for us because we have been friends with this artist since 2001 when she first moved to Los Angeles from Illinois.  We knew she was special then and over the past 15 years the world has also learned of her unique talent.  She has toured extensively throughout the United States, Europe and the UK, as well as playing to large crowds in her native Moscow.  We are talking, of course, of the amazing Russian singer-songwriter named Marina V, who took home the prize for Best Video (live) with a stirring performance of her song, “Beautiful Forever.”

Grab a glass of your favorite wine, put on your favorite tunes, and sit back and learn things about the incredible talent known as Marina V.  As you would expect from our history, this is a long one.

IVB:  How long have you been performing?

MV:  I’ve been performing for only 17 years, but I’ve been writing songs as long as I can remember and singing before I was talking, according to my mom.  I was very shy for many years and wouldn’t perform until I met Nick (my husband), who encouraged me to share my songs with people.  I was attending Illinois College, where they had a talent competition.  I entered and sang my song before the entire campus and won first prize.  But more importantly, people came up to me afterwards and told me how much they loved my song and wanted to get it.  One girl even cried because the song meant as much to her as it did to me.  That statement made an impact with my soul because I realized that my music could affect others just like it affected me.  My music could bring pleasure to others and not just be therapy to me.  That was my catalyst to start performing.  I met you in 2001 at a Songsalive showcase at the old Club Lingerie in Hollywood

IVB:  Who are your influences?

MV:  For anyone that knows me, my primary influence has always been The Beatles, who always inspired me when I was young.   I am also a huge fan of Russian folk music.  Later I began following Jewel and Tori Amos, and discovered my true love for females in music.  Tori is a genius.  Of course, Paul McCartney is one of the greatest influences of all time, and Lennon and McCartney were the most amazing collaboration of all time.

IVB:  What made you decide to DIY?

MV:  It was not a conscious decision.  I realized I wanted to perform and didn’t know what to do, so I went online and searched out singer songwriters who were performing to try to find out what to do next.  It was support from my fellow students that led to my first record.   I learned a valuable lesson about crowd-funding and used email to send to all the students and faculty to pre-order my first CD.  I raised enough to sell 1,000 copies at $10 each.   After I finished that first record, I started sending it to labels and booking agents, but didn’t get much of a response.  I still had the passion and determination so I decided to just do it myself.   My goal was to reach people with my music and maybe reach someone at a label so I wouldn’t have to do it all by myself.   I moved to LA after college because I understood that LA was to be the place to be.

IVB:  Are you seeking to be a mainstream artist?

MV:  Yes.  My dream and my goal has always been to reach as many people as possible with my music.  I need the machine and marketing that you can’t really do on your own unless you have the resources of a label.  My music is pop rock, and my song “You Make me Beautiful” was a top 40 hit in Brazil where I’m right there on the charts with Beyonce and Katy Perry.  On my own I can’t do everything I envision, but I’m doing all that I can at the moment.  That is my true dream and vision.

IVB:  What are your future plans?

MV:  No fucking idea!  I honestly don’t know.  I just keep doing what I’m doing.  I just finished a wonderful and very successful tour in Europe, and I’m very proud of that.  I’ve been working on my “2 Songs a Month Club” through Patreon, and am actively pursuing getting my songs on television and in commercials.  I’m working to get to play more and more places in an effort to reach more fans.   I want to do vinyl print of my album Superhero.  I keep talking to various publishers to get the help I need to make it to the next level.  In the mean time, I’m really living life, travelling, working for myself and getting to love it all.   I think I’m definitely working very hard to move on up.  I think I’m at the top of what an indie artist can do by themselves, and am very hopeful for the future.

IVB:  Any good stories from touring/recording/performing?

MV:  I got a really sweet deal from a local dealership who sponsored us with the car we used for our C to Shining Sea tour.  I also once had a fan give me $10,000 to work on an album.  I was doing crowd funding before that was a word.  I love inventing new ways to find support for my music.  All of it brings me closer to my fans and brings me great joy because I get to be a part of my fans’ joy.  Without the support of my fans I would be nowhere.

I’m currently doing dinner concerts where I cook them a gourmet meal and then play their requests.  Another time we had a fan that offered us support, which included fixing some appliances in our home and helping us build a fence around our house.  He never charged us for his labor although we did split the materials cost.  That’s what fan interaction is all about.  I’m also working on editing a video of our tour from Europe.  We did the same thing for our C to Shining Sea tour.

IVB:  How can your fans find out more about you?

MV:  The best place is my website.  They can also check out my Facebook page, join my Komrades group on Facebook, follow me on Twitter and Instagram, and subscribe to my YouTube channel.

If they can’t make it out to see me live, I’m doing an online residency on Ampli.fy during the month of September.

Getting to know the 2016 LA Music Critic Award winners – Lovers and Poets

We’re getting near the end of this series with only six more interviews left to do.  Today we’re talking with the dynamic duo of Shannon Hurley and Ben Eisen, otherwise know as Lovers and Poets.  The duo won two awards – Best Video (official) Band for “You+ Me in the Summer” and Best CD (Band) for II.

Our connection with this artist goes back more than 10 years, and we have seen a lot of growth along the way, both in the solo career of Hurley and in the formation and rise of Lovers and Poets.

I still remember fondly the first time I heard them perform at an industry conference in Nashville.  I knew then that this pairing would be ideal and that this group had a future ahead of them.

So, sit back, grab a glass of wine, and learn things about the simply amazing band known as Lovers and Poets.  Please note that Eisen was unable at the time of the interview, so all comments came from Hurley, his better half.

IVB:  How long have you been performing?

L&P:  I started my solo career in 2001.  I first began going to open mics with only four songs in my catalog.  Ben had to drive me around everywhere since I didn’t have a car.  Speaking of Ben, we first met in 2001 when we were playing together in a Duran Duran tribute band.  Lovers and Poets came about in 2008 when we were living in Nashville.  Along the way, we also created the Don’t Call us Tori singer-songwriter showcase series 2004.  Some of the first artists to play in that series were Jordana, Colleen Grace and Marina V (who will be interviewed next week).  Bob (aka me) was a big part of that series, hosting the showcases and helping me book the artists, while Steven Leavitt (another friend and co-founder) ran the sound.  The showcases ended shortly before Ben and I moved to Nashville.  We also played the early days of Hotel Café before the venue became as big as it is today.   We’re now happy to be back playing their Second Stage.  It’s truly a shame to see all the small intimate venues in LA going away.  Ben has been involved in LA Soul Project and prefers to be part of an ensemble.  He is happy to be a key player in others’ successes.

IVB:  Who are your influences?

L&P:  As a band, our influences were groups like Belle and Sebastian, Morcheeba, Portishead, really any British and trip-hop/90’s bands whose music includes samples and really good beat.  Others that have influenced us include Bird and the Bee (especially Greg Kurstin, who has worked with Adele and Kelly Clarkson), and most recently,  Moby.  My personal influences were The Beatles (I learned all their songs on piano and guitar), Kate Bush and Tori Amos (a big influence on me)  I was influenced to play keyboards by Nick Rhodes of Duran Duran.  Ben loves the  soulful classics and classic rock artists like James Jameson, The Who, Paul McCartney, Sting and The Police.

IVB:  What made you decide to DIY?

L&P:  I didn’t know any better.  My career started after the record label crash.  I had friends that had label deals and lost them, and I didn’t want to be a part of that.  I was such a late bloomer that I wanted to do it myself to prevent those horror stories from happening.  With DIY, I have control over what gets released and what direction my music will take.  I love making music my own way.

IVB:  Are you seeking to be a mainstream artist?

Despite all that, yes.  I love to collaborate with mainstream artists and producers, and loved doing remixes with members of dance trance world.  I worked with some huge artists in that genre, and through them I’ve been heard all over the world.   I want to continue that as well as work with the top producers in America.

IVB:  What are your future plans?

L&P:  We’re in music video mode right now.  We want to make videos for many of the songs on our new album.  We think the visual component is very important and I have developed a love for editing.  It’s fun.  We want to continue to collaborate on future songs with outside producers.  We don’t have any plans for our next album yet, and we just want to see what will happenin – Moby, if you’re ready this, we’re ready when you are!

IVB:  Any good stories from touring/recording/performing?

L&P:  We had a European tour in 2012, actually it was a Shannon Hurley solo tour, but we raised the money through Kickstarter.  It was amazing to see the fans that came together to support us.  We went to the UK and Amsterdam, and played in London and Liverpool, among others.  We even got to play the Cavern Club.  We were playing a club across the street and the owner of that venue took us to the Cavern Club and got us on stage.  It was a pretty cool experience.

IVB:   Where can your fans find you on social media?

L&P:  Both the band and I can be found on ReverbNation, as well as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Bandcamp.  We also  have a YouTube channel.

Our music has been played on such shows as Scorpion and the Australian soap opera Home and Away.  We also seem to be popular on reality shows and The Young and the Restless.

Getting to know the 2016 LA Music Critic Award winners – Freddy & Francine

We hope you have been enjoying these articles on the winners of the LA Music Critic Awards for the first half of 2016.  Our next feature is on the winner of the Best Pop/Rock Artist award, the dynamic duo known as Freddy & Francine.

Freddy & Francine is an LA-based pop act composed of Lee Ferris and Bianca Caruso.  Freddy & Francine released their second CD, Gung Ho on June 10, 2016.   Caruso was unable to be interviewed as she was working on a deadline for the networks, so all the answers came from Ferris on her behalf.  Nevertheless, please sit back, relax and learn things about this amazing group.

IVB:  How long have you been performing?

LF:  We started the band in 2008 after originally joining up to write together.  I started performing for family when I was five years old, and sang in choirs and high school musicals before heading off to college to continue my musical career.  I first attended school for opera before going to Berklee School of Music to learn jazz guitar.  I have performed all over Los Angeles in various bands before becoming half of Freddy & Francine.  Caruso had a choral background in high school before studying classical music independently.  She moved to LA from Austin and has also studied voice and piano.  She sang back up for various bands and artists in Los Angeles, including Broadway star Idina Menzell.  We first met in 2007 when we were performing in the 40th anniversary production of the musical “Hair.”

IVB:  Who are your influences?

LC:  Definitely Bob Dylan (thanks to my father), as well as classic rock like the Rolling Stones, ELO, the Beatles, Van Morrison, and other 70’s artists including The Band.  I love traditional 60’s and 70’s rock.   I also love big band and be-bop, world music (especially African), Motown and Stax.LC.  Motown & Stax.   Caruso is more influenced by 80’s and 90’s soul/R&B acts like En Vogue, Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston.  She likes more pop R&B than classic Motown R&B.

IVB:   What made you decide to DIY?

LF:  Well, no one was knocking on our door or offering us a lot of cash.  This was something we wanted to do no matter what so it was pointless to just wait around for someone to “discover” us.   DIY gives us the independence to make our own decisions, and to learn the music business on our own terms.  We get to do it all by ourselves.   We would love to have more people on board to help us but in the meantime we’ll keep doing it ourselves.  We especially like that we get to keep our own publishing rights.

IVB:  Are you seeking to be a mainstream artist?

LF:  The term “mainstream” is a little general.  There are niches within the genres.  For example, Americana covers so much stylized content.   We can go as far as we want right now.  We’re not interested in being “Top 40.”  We do want the respect of our peers but not necessarily the general public.

IVB:  What are your future plans?

LF:  We plan to keep touring in support of our new album and continue to build relationships across the country so we can play at Festivals like the one we just did in Colorado.  We want to make a new record every one to two years, publicize our record and market it well.  We’re working on getting radio airplay.  We are primarily learning everything we can so that when the labels do come knocking, we won’t be taken advantage of.

IVB:  Any good stories from touring/recording/performing?

LF:  Well, most recently we played the Rocky Mountain Folk Fest in Denver, with headliners like Mavis Staples, Lucinda Williams, and more.  We loved getting out of LA to a place where music is truly appreciated.  We recorded our new album in Eugene, Oregon with top notch musicians.  We loved working with musicians that were also playing with other well known artists.

We also love setting up food competitions for free food.  We’ll tell our fans to tweet “so and so” and get something in return, and we make video of our antics.  It’s basic Touring 101.  We both have very outgoing personalities.  Our motto is “If you don’t ask, the answer is always no.”  We plan to just keeping trying new things.

IVB:  What type of social media do you use?

LF:  We have an updated website and Facebook page, as well as Twitter, Instagram and a YouTube channel.

 

Getting to know the 2016 LA Music Critic Award Winners – Alexis Keegan

Our next feature on the winners of the LA Music Critic Awards for the first half of 2016 is the up and coming pop/R&B superstar, Alexis Keegan, who won the award for Best EP Female for our release Endless Road.  Keegan also won the award for the second half of 2015 for Best Video (cover) for “Drunk in Love,” and was included in the list of Break Out Artists of 2014 as published on AXS.com

We had a great interview with Keegan last week, and learned a lot about her.  Special thanks to Jen Lyneis of Ue3 Promotions for the nomination.  Now, sit back, relax and learn things about what we consider to be one of the best rising stars in indie music.

IVB:  How long have you been performing?

AK:  Other than the occasional school talent show, my first public performance was at the age of 14 at an Open Mic , when I did a cover of Mary J. Blige’s song, “I’m Going Down.”  This performance blossomed into school musical performances, assemblies, gospel choirs and the like before I started performing on my own.   I attended LaSalle University in Philadelphia, and graduated with a degree in mass communication and marketing.  I’m originally from New Jersey and was close enough to New York City to take off on Thursdays after class to go there to record and visit my family.  I moved to Los Angeles about four years ago.    Before I moved, I was babysitting for a family and one of their family members was a professional cellist.  My college roommate moved to LA first and I came out to try to make connections during a visit.   I met the cellist when I was in California, and he sent my material off to several producers he had worked with, including Andrew Williams, who ended up doing my first record and is currently working on my new one.  I started recording with him about once a month and he introduced me to Jen (Lyneis), who has been wonderful in getting me sponsors and creating my brand.  I am so glad to be back working with Andrew again.

IVB:  Who are your influences?

AK:  My childhood influences were R&B artists like Aretha Franklin and Whitney Houston.  I was also obsessed with Mariah Carey and Christina Aguilera.   I’ve always been drawn to soul/R&B music.  With my new album, I’m finally returning to those roots.  My favorite CD was Whitney’s greatest hits, and I played it until I wore it out.  No one wanted to ride with me because it was the only CD I played in my car.  My current obsession is with the music of Gavin DeGraw, especially his soulful voice, which draws me in.

IVB:  What made you decide to DIY?

AK:  DIY gives me a lot more control and I get to do what I want to.   I’ve heard horror stories from my peers about labels compelling you to do what’s not really you.  I had my own experience with a label who tried to turn me into a pop dance artist.  That is just not me.

IVB:  Are you seeking to be a mainstream artist?

AK:  Only if the label will let me have control of my career.  I’m tred of being pulled in so many directions and having people tell me what they think I should be, instead of knowing myself where I need to be.  I realized that I have gotten away from my roots and now I have the chance to go back there.

IVB:  What are your future plans?

AK:  As I mentioned before, I’m back in the studio with Andrew working on a new EP.   I’m also getting ready to release the music video for “Empty Heart” from my Endless Road EP around end of September.  I’m in the process of setting up some touring, and will continue working with Ue3.  I’m currently looking for both booking and tour management.    My dream is to tour with Allen Stone.

My single “There will be Love” was also recently featured on the GroundSounds website.  Please check it out.

IVB:  Any good stories from touring/recording/performing?

AK:  One of the best things about touring and travelling is being able to try new foods.  I remember the different cities I’ve visited by the foods I experienced.  It’s a good thing calories don’t count when you’re on tour.  I especially love New Orleans.  It was a good thing we had the next day after the performance off because we hit Bourbon Street really hard.

IVB:  What about social media?

AK:  The usual.  I have a website and Facebook, as well as Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.  Please follow me and subscribe to my channel.

Getting to know the 2016 LA Music Critic Award winners – Rod Melancon

Our next feature on the winners of the 2016 LA Music Critic Awards is on Americana artist Rod Melancon, who won for Best Video (official) Male for “Perry” and Best EP Male for LA 14.  Originally from Louisiana, Melancon currently resides in the Silverlake section of Los Angeles, California.

Grab a cold one, sit back and learn things about this future Americana superstar.

IVB:  How long have you been performing?

RM:  I first picked up the guitar when I was 19.  I had moved to Los Angeles when I was 18 and received the guitar for Christmas.  I really got into learning the guitar, but waited a year before I starting writing sons.  I had grown up in the theater and been around playwriting all my life, and considered myself more of a theater and film guy.  I did my first show when I was 20 after being encouraged by my buddy CJ.  He had heard some of my material and said I needed to pursue songwriting as a career.  I’ve always loved story songs, so I decided to write those kinds of songs and have been doing it for the past nine years.  My songs are based on the country music theory that all songs spring from three chords and a truth.   Now that I’ve been doing it for awhile, I am learning some fingerpicking techniques as well as learning to play the electric guitar.

IVB:   Who are your influences?

RM:  The most influential musician for me has to be Bruce Springsteen, and his album The Ghost of Tom Joad, which was the folk sequel to his album Nebraska, in particular.  I also loved artists like  Tom Van Zant, John Prine, and Kris Kristoferson, especially how they chose to get their stories across.   They were not afraid to put humor in the songs.  Lately, I’ve been digging on Tom Waitts.  I also love to read southern Gothics books from writers like Larry Brown, and plays from Sam Shepherd, like The Motel Chronicles.  The material is easily relatable for me as I have a similar story, growing up in the rural area of southern Louisiana.  They have an elegant way of saying very poetic things very simply.

IVB:  Where does the title of your latest EP come from?

RM:  LA 14 is a long stretch of highway that crosses the state of Louisiana.

IVB:   What made you decide to DIY?

RM:  Basically when I started playing music, I realized that I was in charge of everything.  I had management and an agent, but the arrangement wasn’t really doing things for me.  I learned that I was responsible for where my career was going and that’s what got me on this path.

IVB:  Are you seeking to be a mainstream artist?

RM:  Not really.  If it happens, that’s fine, but it’s not my goal.  I’m getting confirmation from my old stomping grounds that this is the best path for me.   I don’t answer to anyone when it comes to my songs.  I’m doing things on my own terms and it’s apparent to my fans through my songs.   But if it did happen, I could pay all my bills and turn my internet back on.

IVB:  What are your future plans?

RM:  I want to keep being on the road.  I’m shooting two music videos next month in Kansas City with the same director from “Perry,” but with a bigger budget.  (Shooting these videos) is a dream come true for me because I get to act in them, and perform the song.  We will probably go back on tour in late October and November.  Like the famous journalist Jack Kerouac, I love being on the road.  It is truly my vision and I love meeting people.   Motel rooms are great settings for just about anything.

IVB:  Any good stories from touring/recording/performing?

RM:  As you can imagine, when you’re touring in the south, we ate at a lot of Cracker Barrel and Waffle House restaurants.    One time at a Cracker Barrell in southern GA or MS, I came into the restaurant after my band was already seated.  I was wearing a Black Sabbath t-shirt.  The hostess told me my friends were in the back – she just knew who were my friends because of the way I was dressed.  Another time we stopped into a Waffle House in Birmingham, Alabama about 4 .m.  We sat down at the counter and waited for about 10 minutes, but nobody waited on us.  I got up to walk around and found the entire crew passed out on a bench in the back.  Needless to say, we headed off to another restaurant about a mile away.

I have to give props to my current record label (Blue E’lan), who has given us great tour support and made the whole process so enjoyable.

IVB:  What about social media?

RM:  Besides my website and Facebook pages, I have Twitter, Instagram and a YouTube channel.  For the best info, definitely follow the Instagram account.