All Things Vocal Blog & Podcast by Judy Rodman: January 2016

Training & insights for stage and studio singers, speakers, vocal coaches and producers from professional vocal coach and author of "Power, Path & Performance" vocal training method. Download All Things Vocal podcast on your fav app!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Missing Roots of Music on Radio? Why Not To Worry

This post is available on my audio podcast. If you don't see the Podcast player below this sentence, please click on the title of this post to see it on the web. You can find it on iTunes and Android Podcast Apps as well as Google, Amazon, TuneIn Radio and most other podcast apps.

I just got an email from a frustrated music lover who is afraid his favorite genre of roots music, traditional country, is getting lost in the marketplace. His message called to mind the fear some of us have that our own roots-based music doesn't fit radio's slots these days. Here's why I don't worry.

What Is Roots Music?

The term 'roots music' can mean different things to different people. Here's how I define it: 
...Roots music feels deeply familiar to the soul, calls the heart 'home', and new music either incorporates it or borrows from it. 
Traditional country music is 'roots' music, and so is blues, traditional R&B, Celtic, bluegrass and, I would say, classical music! Older rock and pop that stand the test of time become sort of grafted roots that the music of today builds on. (Radio stations actually use the term 'classic rock'!) The roots genre you love may go underground, but it will, I believe, always resurface and feel oddly new, like when today's mainstream radio smash incorporates elements of a classic hit into a current one. A good example is Tom Petty's song 'Won't Back Down' that is so closely mirrored in Sam Smith's record 'Stay With Me' .An ensuing lawsuit ended when Petty was given some writer's credit for the Smith smash. As for traditional country, Alan Jackson, Maranda Lambert, Randy Travis and yes, George Strait have all broken through and been embraced by mainstream country markets along with very pop-sounding artists. 

Combining Roots

Sometimes multiple genres of roots music combine in amazing ways. The voices of country icons Ray Charles and George Jones wouldn't be the same without their r&b riffs and bends. Loretta Lynn is today enjoying a major market renaissance with her alt pop producer Jack White production! Influenced by scores of African-American R&B, mountain bluegrass and traditional country icons, pop artist Justin Timberlake and country artist Chris Stapleton created an incredible musical moment in history at the 2015 CMA show! The Rolling Stones famously borrowed from black blues artists of the American south such as Little Richard, Buddy Guy and BB King to create their (now classic) rock. In classical music,  Copland's 'Appalachian Spring' borrows a melody from a very old Appalachian Shaker tune called 'Tis A Gift To Be Simple'. 

No... roots music will never die. But it's extremely important to understand that different people with different backgrounds, personalities and affinities will be moved by different kinds of music. My husband and I just created our album "Here We Are" laced with our own multi-favorite roots, to some truly satisfying response and the President's Choice award by 'Strictly Country' magazine. Different people favor different songs on that album. Instead of fearing this or judging another's tastes, I say embrace our diversity!! 

So What Can We Do?

Vote with our wallets! I do think whether we make this music or just listen, it's important to support the music we love by purchasing it, requesting it on our local radio stations and going to those concerts when we can.  But there's no reason to worry about the roots music we love disappearing. Radio will always chase trends, and try to anticipate what retailers who advertise with them think their audiences want to hear. But the music and the music business sometimes are not in sync, just like the art of Van Gogh and the lack of market for his paintings in his time. Radio is often out of sync with what listeners really want to hear; for instance the hottest live performers of 2015 include The Who and Neil Young... not exactly current radio stars.  I believe we all need to stay true to our calling, no matter what's currently popular... or there never would have been a 'Starry Starry Night'. 

What's Next?

I predict that a couple of new traditional country artists and a Billie Holiday-influenced r&b artist will be breaking through to major market status in the coming year or two. (He and or she may just be students of mine, by the way:) Kacey Musgraves has already done it. I even have a young Hispanic student who shows me that salsa music (another example of roots) is alive and well! There will always be new, creative and even strange music, embraced especially by next-gen ears to define their era and make memories by.  God help us if we stop making and exploring new art! But not to worry. Like the alphabet from which all books are created, the value of the heart moving roots of music or any other art will always be... priceless. 

Your thoughts?

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Friday, January 1, 2016

Interview with Tiamo - Keynote Concerts

Tiamo performing live for 15,000 people

I've decided to do interviews for some of my blogposts this year. I'll summarize the interview on my blog, and you can hear the audio on All Things Vocal Podcast. 

I'm coming out of the shoot with a great interview with motivational speaker, singer-songwriter, teacher and keynote concert performer Tiamo De Vettori. Tiamo has appeared on NBC, CBS, MSNBC, FOX, Jimmy Kimmel and has now won LA Music Awards' Singer-Songwriter of the year and San Diego's Best Songwriter awards. He has performed for audiences up to 15,000 people.  Tiamo leads his own multi-6-figure live workshops and as Founder and CEO of Fearless, Speaker Academy, inspires emerging speakers and music artists to share their message with the world. If you've been looking for a way to make the music business successful for you, I urge you to listen and take notes.  

The Podbean audio player widget should appear under this paragraph. If you receive this by email and can't see the audio link, just click the headline and go online to my AllThingsVocal site.  You can also hear and subscribe directly to it on iTunes, Android and Podbean.

Among the gems of information in this 1/2 hour interview:
  • How Tiamo changed his thinking and went from minimally successful singer-songwriter to in-demand speaker and performer earning a 6-figure income,  and now teaches others (like us) his methods.
  • How he earns additional income by writing custom songs for events, individuals and corporations. 
  • Why he thinks music makes speech presentations more powerful, and how that helps him get booked.
  • How he remembers what to say: he doesn't have to memorize speeches, he deeply knows his stories.
  • How he gages an audience's response and changes his approach to stay strongly connected with them.
  • Specifics on how to come up with the fee for presentations, how to connect with event organizers and booking agencies, his take on booking agencies 
  • How he prepares for his presentations (yes, I was glad to hear he does some vocal warmups!) 
  • Some of the principles he's learned and teaches about fearlessness, purpose and deeply knowing your 'why'.
  • How to search keywords on the internet, events to attend for connections and other tactics to help you get booked.

Links mentioned:

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