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D+D Acoustic Showcase at SpringBoard West! 



Dani W + Drew were selected among 40 bands across the world to showcase at Springboard West 2020!  Before their performance they discovered the wig cabinet with a little help from the Springboard team which added some salt and pepper to their soulful duo performance of an unreleased single.




Dani W + Drew photos above provided by Lacey W Photography. 
 

The Grammy Museum presents "EMPIRE: AN INSIDE LOOK AT THE MAKING OF THE MUSIC PHENOMENON"  


The seats filled up quickly at The Grammy Museum as the audience eagerly awaited a special evening celebrating FOX's hit TV series EMPIRE with an intimate panel discussion featuring cast members Bryshere "Yazz" Gray, Serayah, Executive Producer Sanaa Hamri, GRAMMY winner and EMPIREMusic Producer NE-YO, and Senior Vice President of A&R for Columbia Records Shawn Holiday. 

Moderated by Los Angeles Times writer Gerrick Kennedy, panelists discussed creating the music for the show. 

Having taken TV audiences by storm in its record-setting first season, EMPIRE entered season two as the No. 1 series on broadcast television. 

The series stars Academy Award nominee Terrence Howard and Academy Award and Emmy Award nominee Taraji P. Henson, and features music by prolific producers Timbaland, Jim Beanz and NE-YO. The GRAMMY-nominated soundtrack, Empire: Original Soundtrack from Season 1, was released in March 2015 and debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart. The soundtrack made history as the first soundtrack to debut atop the Billboard R&B/Hip Hop chart. Empire: Original Soundtrack, Season 2 Volume 2 will be released on April 29 featuring never-before-heard songs from upcoming episodes and includes the powerful song "Never Let It Die" by Jussie Smollett and Yazz. EMPIRE airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on FOX.* 

 

Dani W and Ne-Yo at The Grammy Museum

Label Perspective 
Jim Beanz shares, "The question was how do we take 30 seconds of a snippet of a show song and air it outside of the show?" 

Sometimes it's difficult to have a TV show song go to radio. Fortunately viewers go directly online to purchase the songs from the show that they like right after watching.  He shared that it was great to see that demand for the Empire music grow. 

Early Adopters 
Estelle and Snoop Dogg were on board early as they were pitching the show.  It was a brand new show so it was harder to get celeb musicians on board at first.  Wanted people with true musicality and true artistry like Ne-Yo and Alicia Keys who are now on the show. 

Blood Sweat and Tears 
They may shoot for 16 hours a day.  Lots of dancing scenes are shot over and over again to perfection, along with the cast members having to be on point with their acting.   

The producer mentioned she upholds the integrity of the performances.  Ne-yo from the artist perspective adds, "I tell anyone...prepare to not sleep. It's going to be blood sweat and tears. If you want it, I'll see you at rehearsal." 

How did Ne-yo join the show? 
Since the first season, Ne-Yo has been in touch with the producers and wanted to be on the show. The debate was does he come on as Ne-Yo or as another character?  He already has such a strong identity so they had to have him play himself.  The producer gives praise, "It's not an easy thing to play yourself with strict lines.  Ne-Yo's a natural." 

How did you find the talent on the show? 
There was a long audition process. They saw hundreds of girls.  Last minute it was divine timing two days before shooting that they casted Tiana.  She had to rap, act, sing and then when they found out she could dance they developed Tiana's character further.  They enjoy giving raw unknown talent new massive roles.  They use new people all the time which is a new way for big networks. 

Growth Spurts 
"Look but don't touch" lead to the first single.  The radio started calling the label and asking for the song and to start radio interviews. 

What's real? 
Ne-yo, the music and show producers all wanted the music and artistry to feel like it was genuine and not just made for TV.  The music has been nominated for Grammys and more.   

Is touring on the horizon? 
The label rep said" Eventually all of them will have a great touring career when the time comes."  They didn't confirm a tour will happen. 

What's next? 
Solo careers acting and singing wise are in the works.  The actors on the show are in the studio now recording new music and love the fact that they have a strong identity as musicians separately from the show.  This is something new considering usually talent are associated directly with the characters they play on a TV show. 

How is urban artwork integrated into the show? 
Chaz Guest debuted his Buffalo Warrior series in a coffee shop scene during one of the performances. The producers are always looking for natural ways to honor and incorporate inspiring art and talent to bring to the forefront. 

Hear more about the artists debut here: http://www.fashionela.net/fashion/chaz-guest-i-want-to-seek-the-soul-of-things-and-put-the-dna-of-it-on-canvas/ 




*Sourced from The Grammy Museum official website. 

 

Special interview with LA REID and Babyface at The Grammy Museum – New Book “Sing to Me” 

“It took two years to write this book and one day for the moderator at the Grammy Museum to read it” LA Reid jokes as they open the interview discussion of his new book Sing to Me.   

This book written by LA REID with Joel Selvin comes at a great time since my stretch goal is to read one book a week!  Here are some pictures and takeaways from tonight’s talk. 

   

 

The Grammy Museum with LA REID

 
Here are the highlights of tonight’s special talk: 
  • Meghan Trainor auditioned singing “All About that Bass” for Reid on her ukelele and he could feel God was in the room.  
  • There’s a process to recognizing that feeling of God being in the room.  Reid admits between ages 12-22 years old our tastes develop.  He uses the same heavenly feeling to recognize talent like M Train.  
  • As artists we can plan the song, our look and more but we can’t plan how music executives like Reid will feel. This is the magical unknown.  This is where preparation meets opportunity.  
  • Reid got his first set of drums at the age of 15.  He auditioned for his first gig and the managers stopped him mid playing and told him he had the gig. This was a turning point for him as a true professional musician. 

Babyface joins the conversation to share their industry stories. Both charismatic storytellers. 

  • Dick Griffey a seasoned music producer advised, “It’s not the singing business or else you could go to any Baptist church, it’s the  entertainment business.” He also encouraged him to move, “You can make more money by accident in LA than on purpose in Cincinatti.” 
  • Babyface appreciated the moment and passion of each song but never knew it was groundbreaking since they didn’t stop to celebrate while working. 
  • There was a shift however. Reid and Babyface grew to become high in demand. Clive Davis asked them to produce Whitney Houston.  She came to Atlanta to record “I’m your baby tonight”.  
  • Whitney had an hour to record before the mall closed and she really wanted to go before close. The bridge of the song wasn’t even written yet.  So she said let’s go, sang the song from top to bottom.  Nailed it!  Then Babyface wrote the bridge super fast so she could make it to the mall in time.  Incredibly rare singer. She flew in and recorded the song so easily.  That became Reid’s number 1 hot record. “Everything about Whitney was special” said Reid. 
  • With the song “Miracle,” Reid flew to NYC re-recorded Whitney’s vocal. Reid and Babyface received a three page letter from Clive Davis regarding adjusting the mix. Reid turned up the vocals and Clive approved it good to go. They learned how Whitney’s voice was to be treated with extra care. This was a new experience of vocal treatment in the mix for Reid and his team. 
  • TLC rnb group auditioned individually. The third girl didn’t make the cut.  Coincidentally Babyface and Reid met Chili at a dance studio shortly after.  Chili audition with Anita Baker “Sweet love” and they were locked in as TLC. 
  • The same month they signed Toni Braxton.  Her tone of voice caught their ears. Babyface also loved the pain in her voice because it gave him more to work with for songwriting. 
  • Toni Braxton was asked to sing “Love Should’ve Brought You Home” for Waiting to Exhale movie soundtrack with the song in the style of Anita Baker.  Anita said the song was not for her. Ended up working out well for Toni. Babyface acknowledges that sometimes things don’t go as planned and end up working out even better as they are supposed to. This generated millions of sales for their music label. 
  • Reid thinks it’s great that indie artists have more platforms to distribute independently. At the same time at a major label there’s a team fighting for you even when you’re not hot at the moment. Doesn’t claim it’s better but definitely acknowledges the advantages.  He did jokingly admit he has a bias since he owns a major label. 

At the finale, Joel Selvin also contributed to writing the book. He’s a smart music critic and big fan of Sly and the Family Stone.  So much appreciation and recognition of credit shared in gratitude tonight. 

Thanks for tuning in!  Visit the Music Page for more content or Home Page to hear the new single “Legacy” now out on iTunes Apple Music and more. 

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YouTube/Twitter/Instagram: @DanielleWCarter