Amy Stroup Wins Ernie Ball Singer-Songwriter Competition

Amy Stroup, a longtime OurStage favorite, with seventeen different chart placements in the Top 40 or better, has been selected as the winner of our Ernie Ball Female Singer-Songwriter competition. With its compelling combination of mellow electric piano, drum loops, and rich, sweet vocals, her song Chin Up impressed the judges, who had a tough choice with some serious talent to choose from. Stroup’s prize is a year’s supply of strings and accessories from Ernie Ball “ that should come in handy for this gifted multi-instrumentalist, whose songs have been heard in such high-profile spots as Grey’s Anatomy, Pretty Little Liars, One Tree Hill, and more. Read our recent piece on her here, and hear more Amy Stroup on OurStage. Check out her winning song below.

 

Superlatones: Cutest Couple

Lately, it seems that we are hearing more and more from new, unexpected partnerships between artists of different genres. This is why, through Superlatones, we are creating our very own directory”a musical wish-list, if you will”of artists who have yet to join the collaborative bandwagon.

 

Ah, Valentine’s Day: a day for romance, wining and dining, long walks on the beach and candle-lit dinners. But whether or not we’ll be spending the day with a special someone, there’s one thing that always ensures we will never feel alone: music. And who better to show us the brighter side of life than the cutest couple in music today.

The Dynamic Duo:
Ingrid Michaelson and Greg Laswell


 

 

 

 

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Industrial Revolution: "Grey's Anatomy" Killed The Radio Star

It’s official. TV is the new radio. Television is now the primary medium through which casual and even passive listeners with a general interest in music stand the greatest chance of discovering new music and artists.

Whether through serial dramas, sitcoms, commercials, or reality programming, television is absolutely soaking up hip indie rock bands and singer-songwriters as well as unsigned and often unknown artists. Sometimes it lends them cache “ a coolness factor that comes from being associated with something that sounds new. In the case of some higher-profile bands, like the ubiquitous Black Keys, this can cost them a chunk of change. Subaru and HBO, among others, are shelling out to feature the fresh-retro sound of a band like the Black Keys, which appeals to both young, in-the-know music fans and to an older generation who are so excited to hear something familiar-yet-new that they jump online (or, depending how old they are, to¦the record store) to find the genesis of this sound. Other times, and this is best case for the television show or advertiser, they spend relatively little on an unknown song from a licensor’s roster that either sounds fresh or sounds like another act they can’t afford or don’t want to pay for.

They wouldn't spray paint it if it weren't true.

In both cases, it’s a win-win. The unknown artists get the kind of instant and national exposure that they wouldn’t get even if the biggest commercial radio station in their town started playing them. And the TV shows are getting these artists cheap, so they’re cramming more music into their shows AND often giving them a credit somewhere during or after the show. The bigger acts, meanwhile, are benefiting by getting bigger “ in the course of six studio albums, the Black Keys have only in the last year or so, with an increase in song licensing, jumped out of a comfortable cult status and into the consciousness of people who are neither savvy toward new music discovery nor particularly interested in getting savvy. Even if they really like good music, they know they don’t need to work that hard to find it. Just wait for the new iPod commercial, do a Google search, and, boom, you’ve discovered The Submarines. Bands, likewise, no longer have to pander, as in years past, to the corporate powers-that-be at major commercial radio. If you have that one song that perfectly captures the ennui that apparently comes standard with having a medical degree, you might get yourself on an episode of Grey’s Anatomy”ladies and gentlemen, The Fray (whose success on that show’s soundtrack has led to more and more such opportunities, many of which the band reports turning down for fear of overexposure).

And bands no longer grapple with the concept of selling-out. Television has always needed music, but bands used to be reluctant to accept offers to have their music synced with a commercial or any images they don’t control. Now, that wall has come down. For bands, getting on television is not only an acceptable way to distribute your music, but an enviable achievement. A band with a song on MTV’s The Real World will remind their friends and fans on Facebook to tune in, posting it as they would a good review. And they see instant results. YouTube views hit the thousands literally overnight even after a brief clip on such a high-profile show. And the next check from iTunes or CDBaby might be a nice surprise.

There are still quality commercial radio stations out there but, over the last ten years, many have become stale and afraid to take chances on untested music. Some major commercial stations began testing alt-rock hits from the mid-90s on listeners, finding that they liked them”they still liked them” and so they put Stone Temple Pilots back into heavy rotation, fifteen years later, rather than risk valuable airtime on a relatively unknown artist.

Well, it’s their loss and the beneficiaries are the TV shows and the artists. The world would be a slightly better place if commercial radio were more adventurous and compelling, but in the meantime, at least there is a new and effective outlet for bands. Television has a broader reach and a more engaged audience to pitch to. Unlike radio listeners, people watching TV aren’t driving or reading or playing with their kids. They’re watching TV, so shut up, dammit, I’m trying to Shazam the song in this Target commercial.

Sound And Vision: Five Music Stars With Family Members You Didn't Know Were (Almost) Famous

For many an aspiring singer, having the right last name can provide a considerable career boost. Though the pop flames of many celebrity offspring and siblings burn out after a handful of hits, if that many (poor Julian Lennon, Jakob Dylan, Lisa-Marie Presley, Wilson Phillips, Nelson, Lalah Hathaway, Louise Mandrell, Stella Parton and Ashlee Simpson), a precious few have managed to sustain significant music careers. (Natalie Cole and Liza Minnelli come immediately to mind, as do Rosanne Cash, Pam Tillis and Nancy Sinatra.) Meanwhile, Sean Ono Lennon has never troubled himself with the pursuit of mainstream success, and the jury is still out on Miley Cyrus and Will and Jada Pinkett Smith‘s brood.
Francis Bean Cobain, your move.
While we’re waiting for the daughter of Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love to claim what would seem to be her birthright, we’ve got plenty of big names from musical families to entertain us”though many fans might not even realize their impressive lineages. Family value may have given these performers opportunities early on, but in the end, like Nancy Sinatra’s dad, they did it their way”not because of their surnames. Yes, nepotism is alive and well in pop”and it probably will continue to be”but these brothers and sisters (and sons and daughters) are doing it, for the most part, for better and worse, for themselves.

Ke$ha

The woman who is responsible for some of the trendiest pop hits this side of Katy Perry’s breasts is actually a little bit country. Seriously. Though I wouldn’t expect her to break out into yodeling mid-song, in-between swigs of Jack, I also never say never. Her mom Pebe Sebert cowrote “Old Flames Can’t Hold a Candle To You,” which was  No. 1 country hit for Dolly Parton in 1980. I once interviewed Parton, and when I told her that “Old Flames” was one of my favorite of her songs growing up, she feigned indignation and snapped, “Oh, and it just happens to be one I didn’t write!” So not only is Ke$ha responsible for throwing “Tik Tok” on an unsuspecting world, but thanks to her mom, I incited the ire of Dolly.
Albert Hammond Jr.
I didn’t think it was possible, but the dad and namesake of the Strokes guitarist might be even cooler than his little boy” if you happen to be a fan of ’70s and ’80s soft-rock. I saw an infomercial for his most recent album, Legend, on Australian TV recently, and I was shocked by all of the major hits the singer and producer has written (from his own “It Never Rains in Southern California” and the Hollies’ “The Air That I Breathe” to Willie Nelson and Julio Iglesias’s “To All the Girls I’ve Loved Before” and Starship’s “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now”). His most recent high-profile production: Endlessly, the sophomore album by Welsh singer Duffy, who, contrary to popular belief, is not the daughter of Shakin’ Stevens.
Chord Overstreet
Why don’t the Glee kids give more props to country music? After all, one of their very own, Overstreet, the blond-haired, pout-lipped actor who plays the blond-haired, pout-lipped Sam Evans, is directly descended from Paul Overstreet, one of the biggest country stars of the late ’80s and early ’90s, with nine straight Top 10 hits, including two No. 1s. Though the cast of Glee have yet to make it to Billboard’s country singles chart, Overstreet the elder must be proud that over on the Hot 100, his Nashville-born son is part of the act that’s now had more hits than Elvis.
Hillary Scott and Charles Kelley of Lady Antebellum
Speaking of country, Lady Antebellum has two members who are part of the family business. Hillary Scott’s mom, Linda Davis, had a No. 1 GRAMMY-winning hit duet with Reba McEntire in 1993 called “Does He Love You.” Charles Kelly’s big brother Josh is a singer-songwriter who’s married to former Grey’s Anatomy star and current rom-com regular Katherine Heigl. Thanksgiving dinner at the Kelley’s house must be some star-studded affair. I wonder if there’s a red carpet leading to the turkey?

Friday, March 11, 2011

Get Your Song Placed In Kiefer Sutherland's 'The Confession'!

Exposure. Exposure. Exposure. Everyone knows that the right exposure can make all the difference in the music business, and it’s every artist’s job to find the best ways to get it. Over the years, song placement in movies and TV shows has become one of the best ways for artists to reach potential new audiences. Take for example shows like Grey’s Anatomy and SKINS, who have given up-and-coming artists a platform to launch their careers. The Confession, a new web series featuring Kiefer Sutherland, is hoping to give emerging artists a launching pad and are looking for talent on OurStage.

The Confession is hosting the The Confession Song Competition” on OurStage in order to give artists a chance to get their song featured on an upcoming webisode of the show. The Grand Prize Winner will receive one-of-a-kind exposure when their song is broadcast across the web via Hulu to the shows fans. So what are you waiting for? If you think your song has what it takes to make it to the show, enter by March 23, 2011 for your shot at this incredible opportunity. Your bright lights, big stage music career could be just a few clicks away.

By helping to select an artist winner, one Grand Prize Fan Winner can snag an invitation to the VIP screening of the show alongside Kiefer Sutherland and the all-star cast in NYC! Ten first place prize winners will win a poster from The Confession autographed by Kiefer Sutherland! Get to judging by March 31, 2011 for your shot at the above prizes and help one rising star get their big break.