In March, OurStage and Coors Light teamed up for the Coors Light “Search for the Coldest” Competition to give artists a chance of a lifetime”the opportunity to open for hip hop heavyweights N.E.R.D. and PacDiv along with a shot at performing at the ESSENCE® Music Festival in New Orleans! Brooklyn’s own OMG might be relatively new to the scene (having only been a proper group since early January 2011) but the trio”consisting of pianist Olalekan, songwriter Mojeed and guitarist G.C.”have been making big moves in their career so far. Case in point: the boys fought alongside hundreds of other artists with their track “Blah“ to win the Coors Light “Search for the Coldest” North Channel which means they earned an opening slot for a N.E.R.D. and PacDiv gig in New York City! We caught up with frontman Mojeed after his performance with N.E.R.D. and PacDiv to see how things went.
OS: How did you react when you found out that your song was the winner of the North Channel?
OMG: The feeling was ecstatic and unbelievable at first for my group and I. After a few minutes, we realized that we deserved the position and began to believe in ourselves more.
OS: What was it like opening for N.E.R.D. and PacDiv in your hometown? Were you a fan of them before you entered the competition?
OMG: We have always been fans of N.E.R.D and always will be. So opening for them was definitely a pleasure and honor. We knew we were opening for one of the best so we had to do our best. I never heard of PacDiv, this opportunity knocked our door. But honestly, they are worth knowing and listening to as well.
OS: What was the most memorable moment from the show for you?
OMG: I would say when Pharell hit the stage, LOL. I learned a lot from him, the energy, the passion behind his performance, even meeting his humble self was incredible. Just made me realize the world is too small to act too big when you are well known.
OS: What are your plans for promoting yourself to earn that Grand Prize”a performance at Essence Music Festival in New Orleans?
OMG: Now I wouldn’t publicize my strategy, would I. LOL. It’s a competition.
OS: OMG is a pretty young project, it looks like the group’s only been active for a few months. What kind of impact do you think this will have on your career going forward?
OMG: It will definitely have a great impact on us. We are motivated by progress and to acquire such in such period of time is not just progressive, it’s a blessing, so with prayers and consistent hard work, the sky is the limit.
OS: Any shout outs for the fans and your supporters on OurStage who helped Blah win in the competition?
OMG: Shout out to the road manager of PacDiv, pretty dope guy, the fans, we do this for them, much love and every other OMG supporter and non supporter. We love them all.
Check out the video below for a recap of the NYC event and don’t forget to come back and vote for the “Coldest” MC on June 10th!
Every good band begins with an interesting back-story, and for Buckeye Knoll, it all starts with Doug Streblow. The young songwriter took a “sabbatical from life” in the woods of California”what resulted was a book of hand-crafted songs that would form the foundation for the California-based trio. The group consists of two guitarists and a bass player, so they doubtless go through a lot of strings. Lucky for them, we’ve got that covered.
OurStage and Ernie Ball are happy to do our part for Buckeye Knoll by supplying them with a year’s supply of guitar and bass strings. For this, they can thank you, the fans, who put them in the Top 10 of our Indie Pop Channel for April 2011. Congratulations to Buckeye Knoll for winning the April Ernie Ball Indie Pop Grand Prize, may you rock them in good health.
Recently, MTV launched NextMovie.com”a movie site for the next generation featuring celebrity interviews, movie news and video reviews from rappers and rockers. And naturally, since we have no shortage of talented rhymesayers or rock-and-rollers on OurStage, we got in on the action with the NextMovie Review Competition to offer one lucky rap, hip hop or rock artist a chance to have their own video review posted on the NextMovie site!
Well, a winner has been chosen: Nikki Lynette‘s fierce track Love U Crazy, earned her the prize. This Chi-town native is no stranger to success on OurStage. In fact, Nikki regularly kicks ass and takes names in the urban charts. Love U Crazy is a genre-bending hip-shaker that combines equal parts rock and rap in one tasty alternative hip hop package guaranteed to get you on your feet. If you’re ready to jam out to spiky guitars and sultry vocals check out Love U Crazy below, and keep an eye out for Nikki’s NextMovie review when it airs on OurStage! You can also head on over to nextmovie.com to see Lego versions of summer blockbusters and hear what MC Hammer thought about Thor.
Oklahoma pop-rockers Stars Go Dim won the Grand Prize for the SUBWAY FRESH ARTISTSâ„¢ Competition back in October, and earned the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to open for GRAMMY-Award winning band the Goo Goo Dolls. In addition to the performance, the guys scored a one-on-one songwriting session with professional songwriter Evan Kidd Bogart who, in case you hadn’t heard, has worked with some of the biggest acts in today’s music industry including Beyoncé, Rihanna and Britney Spears to name a few. Bogart is synonymous with songwriting gold in the pop universe, having penned mega hits the likes of Beyonce’s Halo and Rihanna’s S.O.S. The guys met with Bogart last week to discuss all things songwriting, and we caught up with Stars Go Dim lead singer Michael Wittig to see how things went. Take a look at our most recent Q&A below!
OS: Did you guys have a song in mind to work on when you went in to the session?
MW: We had a couple of ideas that we’ve been working on before we went out to LA. We basically started working on the first idea we showed Evan called Lose It. We came in with a hook and a first verse and then finished the rest of the song in about 4 hours. The song turned out great! We plan on recording it later in March.
OS: Did you have any specific questions lined up for him?
MW: Not really at first. We just were excited to have the opportunity to collaborate with a great writer and his team. Towards the end of the session we just talked about the music industry in general and how to release music in today’s market. We also took time to watch YouTube videos and listen to artists that Evan thought were going to hit soon.
OS: What kinds of advice did Evan offer you?
MW: He basically said to keep on doing what we’ve been doing. It felt good to know that we are on the right track and that we saw eye-to-eye with his thoughts on the industry.
OS: Were you surprised by what he said?
MW: We were pleasantly surprised and it felt good to hear it from a well-respected player in the music industry.
OS: Has the session changed the way you look at writing songs? If so, how?
MW: You never know how writing sessions will go. Sometimes you click and sometimes you don’t. We felt that we clicked with Evan and the writing camp. It felt natural and the song came easy. It was a true collaboration.
OS: Did Evan share any cool stories with you guys about his experiences working with famous artists?
MW: All of his stories were cool. He has worked with a lot of great artists. What was really cool was his wall of signatures. Almost every person he has worked with has signed his wall. On another wall, he had a bunch of sheet music as wallpaper. Of course they were all hit songs. He called this wall, The wall of inspiration. I think we are going to steal that idea.
MTV and OurStage joined forces again in December 2010 to kick off the Score SKINS Music Project, offering artists maximum exposure by getting their song featured on the mega-networks’ new teen drama SKINS. November winners Vic and Gab recently had their winning song So Long, So Tired featured on the show and now it’s time for December’s winner to take the stage. Introducing Unsolved Mysteries, the mystic songwriting collaboration between Jon Lynn and Colin Alexander. The duo lists Three Six Mafia, New Order and Keith Sweat as primary influences in their songwriting style, which they describe as being evocative of weird childhood memories. The guys caught the ears of the music supervisors at MTV with their song You Only Live Once, a bizarre yet catchy electronic / indie rock anthem. The song recently premiered on the Monday, February 28th episode of SKINS. Congratulations!
Every year, the New Music Seminar (NMS) gathers the innovators of the modern music industry under one roof to discuss the state of the business and what’s on the horizon for upcoming years. This year, NMS teamed up with OurStage to give one artist a shot to perform at the 2011 closing party in Los Angeles at The Roxy Nightclub, where artists the likes of Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen and David Bowie have taken the stage. In addition, one lucky fan won round trip airfare and 2 free tickets to attend the conference and closing party just for liking OurStage on Facebook!
Atlanta pop-rock quartet The Well Reds stepped up to the artist challenge and entered their song 6 More Months, which climbed all the way to the Number 1 spot at the top of the channel landing them the gig. Facebook fan Becky Clawson won the fan prize and got to attend the conference and hang out at the closing party, attended by Pete Edge (President A&R Jive Records), Courtney Holt (MySpace Music) and OurStage’s own Ben Campbell to name a few. Fresh off their performance at The Roxy, Torin of The Well Reds sat down with us to talk about their performance experience. Check it out below!
OS: Did you get to meet any music biz big whigs at the party?
WR: We were very fortunate to meet and speak with a variety of industry executives. The “biz big whigs” were incredibly generous in taking a lot of time to speak with the attendees after the panel discussions. We were very impressed with the diversity and scope of music topics covered at the New Music Seminar. The panelists really represented an incredibly eclectic mix of music professionals¦ A&R, Marketing, Booking/Tours, Merchandise/Artists.
OS: Did you have an elevator pitch prepared in case you bumped into any major players?
WR: Not really. There was a lot of pitching going on and it was pretty obvious that a firm handshake and a polite “hello-my-name-is” worked much better than “I am the next big thing, you need to sign me.” We had flyers for our show at the Roxy with show information and band links that we personally handed out to as many of the panelists and attendees as we could. In the event that an industry executive was taking the red-eye out or not planning to attend the show we asked if it would be appropriate to give them a copy of our EP.
OS: What do you think the future holds in store for the music business? Where do the Well Reds fit into this future?
WR: I think the music business will continue to evolve. One of the biggest themes in the seminar was that is does us all a disservice to hold on to the romanticized idea of what was. There are artists that are still finding success throughout multiple traditional and digital media platforms, licensing songs, writing hits, building their fan base¦ I would hope that as The Well Reds continue to grow as a group, we will find sincere opportunities get our music out for others to enjoy. Our goal it to work hard, be professional, and to conduct ourselves in a manner where regardless of where we end up, we can look back without regrets wishing we had done this or that. I think Ourstage is a perfect example of a present day platform that can sincerely provide artists with an opportunity to reach a wide and educated audience. For contest winners, the experiences can be truly career changing.
OS: What was it like gigging in LA? Have you guys ever played there before?
WR: This was the first time we’d collectively played in LA as The Well Reds and it was really great to get to play at the Roxy. We went to the NMS Artist On The Verge contest the night before and were totally blown away with the band the The Daylights. When it came time for us to play we felt very comfortable in the venue. I cannot say enough nice things about the folks at NMS and the staff at the Roxy. Keith, Alex, Sam, Dave, Tom¦ all great professional.
OS: How did the audience respond to your performance?
WR: The audience was great and we definitely made some new friends. We usually measure show effectiveness based on the response of the sound man and Alex (from the Roxy) was very complimentary of our set. We were also able to get some folks out from some of the LA based companies we’ve been working with. Thanks go out specifically to Mike, Mitch, Cindi, Caitlin, Travis and Ramy for attending the show.
OS: How did you get your fans to come out and judge in the competition?
WR: We asked nicely and often on Facebook. I also think there was some residual Ourstage support from when one of our other songs “Violet” placed third in the public voting for the Ourstage Subway Fresh Artist competition a few months back.
OS: Are there any shout outs you’d like to make to the fans who voted for you?
WR:Just that we’re very appreciative of the time that people continue to invest in our band.
OS: What was the most valuable thing you learned at NMS?
WR: As a band we’ve been working with the understanding that each member has to take on a variety of roles within the group. The idea propagated by NMS that really resonated with me is that regardless of who you’re working with or what level of success you’ve achieved it is still absolutely imperative that you’re personally working on the different facets of your career: booking, licensing, perfuming, booking¦ No A&R rep, manager, or booker is going to instantly magically make it so you don’t have to work hard anymore.
Boston-based band Naked on Roller Skates rocked and rolled their way straight to the top of the Indie Rock Channel in January. The band impressed not only the OurStage fans, but also the judges at Ernie Ball, securing the competition grand prize. Thanks to Ernie Ball, Naked on Roller Skates will be rocking out with free guitar and bass strings for an entire year! We caught up with lead guitarist extraordinaire Travis Richter to chat about his musical influences, playing style and much more. Check out the interview below, and don’t forget to head to the Alternative Country Channel to listen to the artists currently competing for the Ernie Ball Grand Prize.
OS: How would you describe your playing style?
TR: My playing style is to develop parts around the melody. I’m a very melodic player, so I’m always looking to find a riff or a part that compliments the song. I like to fill in the spaces.
OS: Who are some of your favorite guitar players?
TR: First and foremost, Lindsey Buckingham! He is my hero. I was always a big fan of the hair metal guys, Vitto Bratta, CC Devile, Frankie Hannon, etc. I also think Billy Corgan is an incredible player. It’s hard to narrow your influences down.
OS: Who has influenced you the most as a musician?
TR:It was probably my former bandmaster in High School, Frank Forgione. He was so passionate about music and he pushed me to be want to be great, not just settle for mediocrity. He also instilled a work ethic in me that has carried on to this very day.
OS: What kind of guitar are you currently playing?
TR:Currently, I’m playing a Telecaster and a Fender Bullet. I’ve recently switched to those from a Les Paul.
OS: What was it like winning the free strings?
TR:It was like getting laid for the first time, unexpected yet ultimately satisfying.
For more information about Naked on Roller Skates and to check out more of their music, head to their OurStage profile HERE.
Guitar Center’s Your Next Record with Keith Urban Competition came to a close this past December with over 6,000 artists entries and over 330,000 battles. Given the sheer awesomeness of the prize however, we can’t say we are too surprised. It’s been four months since the start of the competition and we are proud to announce that a final decision has been reached. The community made their voices heard and whittled the submissions down to the top 100 artists, which were then reviewed by none other than Keith Urban himself. Urban liked what he heard so much that he needed extra time to make a final decision! He then personally reached out to the individual to notify them of their win.
Introducing Brandon Green, a self-proclaimed simple southern guy from Lucedale, Mississippi. Green is no stranger to the spotlight. Having been featured in season seven of American Idol and season two of CMT’s hit show Can You Duet, Green aspires to be America’s next biggest country superstar. Green caught the attention of Keith Urban and the fans with his song Love Lovin’ You and is getting hooked up with a killer prize package including a $10,000 Guitar Center shopping spree, a $10,000 sponsorship with Gibson Guitars, a three song demo recorded by top notch producer Dann Huff (Keith Urban, Rascal Flatts, Faith Hill), a single from that demo featuring Keith Urban himself and much more! Green lists Keith Urban as one of his top influences on his OurStage profile and now he will get the chance to work with him in person. Join us in congratulating Brandon Green on his win and be sure to check out his OurStage profile to learn a little more about him.
Every month, Ernie Ball selects one artist from one channel on OurStage to be the recipient of a year supply of free strings and accessories. The legendary string makers wrapped up 2010 by sponsoring the Modern Rock Channel, ultimately selecting New Hampshire pop-rocker Jacob Heal as the Grand Prize winner! Heal and the boys in his band can officially cross strings off the shopping list for a whole year thanks to the folks at Ernie Ball. We caught up with Heal after the win for some words of wisdom. Check out the interview below. Don’t forget to head to the Ernie Ball sponsored Indie Rock Channel this month and help bring the best artists to the big stage.
OS: How does OurStage fit into your musical world/career?
JH: OurStage is a great way for my band to network our music and share it with those in the industry.
OS: What’s the benefit of having a year’s worth of strings?
JH: Strings for a year is a great benefit for my lead guitarist Eric Jackson and my bass player Jeff Marzano, they often break strings playing so passionately and can always use strings!
OS: Do you normally use Ernie Ball strings?
JH: We have used Ernie Ball strings in the past but after such a great gift from the company, I feel it will become more of a regular thing for the band members.
OS: What would you tell OS users about participating in competitions and winning prizes?
JH: Go after it. It never hurts to try and like myself you can always be presently surprised if you do end up winning prizes such as the year supply Ernie Ball strings. I know I was and can’t express enough thanks to the company for this awesome gift!
OS: What’s up for you next? recording, playing, video, press, etc?
JH: This past Friday we just played an awesome gig at Hard Rock Cafe Boston, we are in the process of hiring a new manager Scott Feldman, founder of D.I.-Why.com and looking forward to the GRAMMYs in February. We also hope to be working with some new writers” Nina Ossoff and possible Sandy Fredrickson”on a three song EP, time to create a hit song for the people to connect to.
To hear more from Jacob Heal, check out his OurStage profile HERE.