Can you hear the buzz around Baltimore, Maryland’s Brightside Drive? These young talented individuals are still in high school yet are already making waves in their area”converting listeners to fans at a rapid pace. They released their new album Transitions on June 11, 2010, and are slowly becoming yet another OurStage success story. Their recent win in the Shout it Out with HANSON Competition in June is just the beginning.
As this week’s Needle in the Haystack, Brightside Drive is giving away the free track What If? off of their new album. Comment and let us know what you think of this song!
When you hear the words music scene, you instantly think about major US cities like New York, Miami and Los Angeles. However, when it comes to the musical landscape of America, it’s impossible not to mention New Jersey. We were hard pressed to think of one city within this diverse state that stands out the most. So, we decided the Garden State’s chapter of Scene & Heard, would cover the whole state since it has so many important cities, venues and bands.
Back in the day Newark, NJ was a huge jazz hotspot, producing names like Count Basie, Wayne Shorter and Dizzy Gillespie. And who could forget the most famous music figures of all time, Mr. Frank Sinatra, who began his music career in NJ and NYC. The 1980s claimed its place in the state’s music timeline thanks to Jersey heavyweights Bruce Springsteen, Jon Bon Jovi and Whitney Houston. The hip hop realm also finds its roots here courtsey of Rapper’s Delight (widely considered the first recorded rap song) and artists such as Redman, Salt ‘n’ Pepa and Naughty By Nature. Jersey is even home to punk rock legends The Misfits, The Bouncing Souls and The Casualties as well as newcomers My Chemical Romance and The Gaslight Anthem.
While the major players and huge venues are obvious focal points of any major city in New Jersey, we’ll mention some of the smaller places known for housing up-and-coming talent and even giving some of these big names their start. First off, the name The Stone Pony probably rings a bell. Bon Jovi and Springsteen both played early shows at this small venue in Asbury Park. Yet despite it’s notoriety, it still remains a somewhat intimate setting. Over in Hoboken, Maxwell’s hosts acts like Greg Laswell and Stephen Kellogg & The Sixers. The venue also features art shows and other non-musical events.
As for musical acts, Elizabeth, NJ’s Reality Addiction is a powerful alt/rock band with a great live set. They’ve perfected this show at venues in Jersey like Mexicali Live and the previously mentioned Stone Pony. [These venues] both have a lot of good music going on throughout the week, comments the band who declare both places as their favorite Jersey venues to play as well as a reliable place for a visitor to stop by. The band also talked about how the dominance of the emo, screamo, metal and classic rock genres. It seems that our particular sound has given us a kind of edge and originality at the venues here.
When speaking with the band, one fact was reinforced over and over” being based in the New Jersey music scene gives a band the opportunity to be part of two other scenes as well, NYC and Philadelphia. Being so close to major music cities like [that gives] us a wider local fan base from NJ, PA and NYC.
Obviously, New Jersey’s proximity to major markets like NYC and PA gives artists the opportunity to cultivate their careers in those cities. Through such opportunities, the band has been able to share the stage with Max Bemis of Say Anything and Ben Kenney of Incubus. They said,Being a part of shows with national acts has given us a reputation of credibility with other bookers and event planners. The band was also a part of the Bamboozle festival in 2009 and had their music featured in the indie film Prime Of Your Life. Reality Addiction’s music can even be heard on Delta Airlines Flights this summer as part of an elite lineup that includes only 11 other artists.
Check out Reality Addiction’s OurStage profile and stay updated on the band’s future shows. They will be getting airplay and giving in-studio performances for 105.5 WDHA The Rock of New Jersey as part of a Jersey-based rock radio show. Whether it’s your destination or you’re just passing through, Jersey has the sound and reputation to satisfy any concert-goer.
OurStage artist Andrew Belle is slowly but surely becoming the next big thing. First, OurStage and MTV selected the singer-songwriter as the local VMA Best Breakout Artist in Chicago. Then Belle’s music went on to be featured in shows like Grey’s Anatomy, One Tree Hill, 90210, MTV’s The Real World, The Ghost Whisperer and Keeping Up With The Kardashians. After releasing his debut LP under the direction of GRAMMYaward-winning mixing engineer Vance Powell (The Raconteurs) in February, Belle snagged the Number 1 spot on the iTunes Singer-Songwriter Channel. If that wasn’t enough, Belle was hand-picked by MTV Music as OurStage’s Needle in the Haystack in June.
To solidify his continuing climb, Belle debuted his music video for “Static Waves” on Paste last month. Check out the lovely, if not heart-wrenching, video for his duet with GRAMMYnominated Katie Herzig below, and stay tuned as this OurStage star continues to rise.
In the vast sea of singer/songwriters, it’s hard to make a name for yourself. It’s even harder to discover new artists that hit the mark. This week, we’ll make it a little easier for you by directing your attention to the piano-driven, hook-laden music of Andrew Varner.
Hailing from the Columbus, OH area, Varner’s music packs an upbeat punch. He takes a refreshing step away from the acoustic guitars so stereotypical of male pop artists. Rather, you’ll find his music utilizing bouncy piano phrasing, heavily process guitar sounds and even the occasional organ. His voice remains the focal point as he presents playfully sarcastic lyrics and uniquely memorable lines. In his own words, he wants to paint a picture without giving too much away.
Varner frequents venues across Ohio and Tennessee, dividing his time between the Columbus and Nashville areas. His most recent release, the Make Believe EP has put this pop artist on the map. He’s a powerful artist with strong stage presence that has participated in benefit concerts (most recently to help raise money for a local cancer victim), festivals and local fairs. He was even featured as OurStage’s Ernie Ball: Singer/Songwriter prize winner in July. Check out his OurStage profile and pick up his EP. You can also head over to his web site for a few free downloads.
Every month, Ernie Ball selects one artist from one OurStage music channel to be the recipient of a years supply of free strings. In July, they focused on the artists in the Singer Songwriter (Male) Channel. Now that the judging is over and the ranks are in, Ernie Ball has chosen Andrew Varner as the winner of 52 sets of guitar strings and 12 sets of bass strings. Andrew won’t have to fret about buying strings for his axe for an entire year! Just think of how many open-mic nights and clubs one could play with all those strings. Stay tuned to the OurStage blog to find out the selected channel for August.
To cap off this week’s Needle in the Haystack, we’ve got a great interview with the band Philadelphia Slick. Check out the video below and download the free track from earlier in the week if you haven’t already. It’s definitely worth checking out and sharing with friends. As always, another great artist will be featured in next week’s Needle in the Haystack, so stay tuned!
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.
Diamond on Female Rappers: ‘It’s Important For Us to Have Variety’
Diamond is one of the few female rappers with a major label deal and she’s currently riding high from her recent cameo on Ludacris’ My Chick Bad. Now preparing to reintroduce the world to her grown-up self, Diamond chats with VIBE about her solo career and why women need to check their emotions when it comes to business. Continue reading on Vibe.com…
Ochocinco and Bernard Berrian’s 5 Mrs. Right Must Haves
At the present moment there are no bachelors on television more in-demand than NFL Cincinnati Bengal Ochocinco (formerly known as Chad Williams) and Minnesota Viking Bernard Berrian. The star and co-star of VH1’s Ultimate Catch have successfully combined dating and sport competition to the tune of 1.5 million viewers weekly. We’re guessing most of these eyes come with longer lashes and would love an opportunity to bag a chocolate receiver (no pun). So VIBE has decided to help the ladies out by asking Mr. ˜Cinco and Sir Berrian for 5 Must-Have’s for their Ms Right. Pay attention and you too could be ballin’. Continue reading on Vibe.com…
Malcolm Jamal Warner on ‘Life After’ The Cosby Show
Believe it or not, it’s been nearly 20 years since The Cosby Show finished its groundbreaking, eight-year successful run on television. And Malcolm Jamal Warner has definitely been one of the more visible former Cosby Show kids as an actor and director. Most recently he turned in guest star appearances on such critically acclaimed shows as, Dexter, The Cleaner and HawthoRNe. Plus, Warner also starred in the Post-Cosby sitcoms Malcolm and Eddie and the short-lived Sherri and Listen Up. And in addition to his work behind the scenes on The Cosby Show, he also served as a director on episodes of The Fresh Prince of Bel Air and Keenan and Kel. While he and his TV siblings qualify as perfect poster adults for former child stars, the 40-year old New Jersey native admits there are still challenges to navigating a successful career after starring on one of the most iconic shows in television history. Malcolm Jamal Warner comes clean on TV One’s biography series Life After, which airs throughout the month of August (check your local listings.) But he also spoke to VIBE.com about his music career, why sometimes you don’t see him on TV and of course, The Cosby Show. Continue reading on Vibe.com…